Judge Denies Sanctions Against Kari Lake, Charges Not ‘Groundless’

An Arizona judge on Friday denied a motion to hit former Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and her legal team with sanctions.

Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest, wanted to punish Lake for her legal actions against the election system in last year’s governor’s race. Lawyers asked for sanctions and charged that her allegations of a rigged election were “heinous and profoundly harmful.”

Judge Peter Thompson’s decision came after he dismissed Lake’s challenge of her 2022 defeat by Democrat Katie Hobbs. That action came on May 22.

Despite that ruling, he declared that it didn’t mean that her charges were “groundless” and that they were “not made in good faith.”

Thompson wrote that despite her challenge being dismissed, the plaintiff “presented facts consistent with and in support of her legal argument.”

Even with this declaration, he ruled that evidence put forward by Lake and her legal team did not rise to the level of proving misdeeds by election officials. Thompson stated that it was unproven that any such actions affected the outcome of the race “by a competent mathematical basis.”

The Republican’s attorneys argued against the legal system punishing themselves and their client for bringing a valid concern to the attention of the court. “Trust in the elections is not furthered by punishing those who bring legitimate claims as [the] plaintiff did here.”

Maricopa County wanted Lake and her attorneys to be punished for what they believed were false assertions. Despite the chill this could bring to legitimate legal recourse against government actions, Tom Liddy of the county Attorney’s Office said sanctions were appropriate.

He claimed lawyers should “self-discipline” to preserve the integrity and reputation of the judicial system.

Thompson first rejected Lake’s claims against election officials in December, though he admitted the current system is not “perfect.” He said then that the setup was “more than sufficient to comply with the law and conduct a valid election.”

Lake then took her appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court, which denied most of her claims. The high court, however, sent the case back to Thompson to hear further arguments that the county’s signature verification system for voters was implemented illegally.