Hobbs seeks sanctions against Lake over election lawsuit

Politics

(NewsNation) — Arizona Governor-elect Katie Hobbs is asking a court to sanction her Republican opponent Kari Lake for filing a lawsuit challenging the election results, arguing Lake’s claim was a “frivolous pursuit.”

Lake, a conservative candidate who echoed former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud in 2020, challenged the results of the midterm election after she lost by 17,000 votes. In her lawsuit, she claimed election officials in Maricopa County intentionally tampered with printers on Election Day causing the ballots to be unreadable. A judge threw out eight of the 10 counts and on Saturday ruled against Lake on the other two counts following a trial last week.

Hobbs joined a motion by Maricopa County Monday for sanctions on Lake and her attorneys in which the county’s deputy attorney Thomas P. Liddy wrote Lake filed a “groundless” lawsuit, according to court records.

“Enough really is enough,” Liddy wrote in the motion. “It is past time to end unfounded attacks on elections and unwarranted accusations against elections officials.”

Prior to the election, Lake refused to say she would accept the results and has accused Maricopa County officials of being incompetent. She had asked the judge to declare her the winner or order a revote.

Maricopa County officials say everyone had a chance to vote and all ballots were counted since ballots affected by the printers were taken to more sophisticated counters at the elections department headquarters. They are in the process of investigating the root cause of the printer problems.

Lake’s attorneys also claimed the chain of custody for ballots was broken at an off-site facility, where contractors scan mail-in ballots to prepare them for processing. They claim workers at the facility put their own mail-in ballots into the pile, rather than sending their ballots through normal channels. Lake also claimed the paperwork documenting the transfer of ballots was missing. The county disputes the claim.

Maricopa County’s motion for sanctions had “no basis in law or fact,” Lake’s lawyers wrote in a response filed Monday evening, asking the court to deny the request for sanctions.

“Trust in the election process is not furthered by punishing those who bring legitimate claims as plaintiff did here,” the court document filed by Lake’s lawyers said. “In fact, sanctioning plaintiff would have the opposite effect.”

Along with sanctions, Maricopa County is also asking the judge to award it $25,050 in attorneys’ fees incurred during the two-day trial.

Lake, a former local TV news anchor, was one of the most high-profile politicians to embrace Trump’s false rhetoric about 2020 election fraud. She was also one of the most prominent Trump endorsees to lose in a battleground state.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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