A Maricopa County judge on Tuesday ordered the Arizona Republican Kari Lake to cover some legal fees related to Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs Election case Lake challenged his loss, but he stopped short of giving Lake permission to file suit.
Judge Peter Thompson dismissed Lake’s case on Saturday, concluding there was no clear or convincing evidence of misconduct and upholding Hobbs’ victory. That Christmas Eve ruling was a major setback for Lake Lost to Hobbs He sued in November in an attempt to overturn the election by about 17,000 votes.
Lawyers for Hobbs — the current secretary of state — knew Lake and his lawyers could not prove their challenges in the election, which would violate legal ethics rules. They wanted sanctions against Lake and his group. Thompson disagrees. “The Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims presented in this case are without merit and constitute bad faith,” he wrote Tuesday.
But he ordered Hobbs to pay $33,040.50 in restitution, and he reaffirmed Hobbs’ election to take office on Jan. 5.
The latest rulings are the latest rebuke to election dissenters nationwide and a return to long legal losses suffered by former President Donald Trump as he sought to challenge his election loss in 2020. Maricopa County, which straddles the Phoenix area and contains the majority of Arizona’s population, has been the focus of unsubstantiated fraud allegations in the midterm and 2020 elections.
In a tweet after Saturday’s ruling, Lake, who sat in the courtroom during the trial and did not testify, said he would appeal the decision “to restore trust and integrity in our elections.”
Lake, a former Arizona television journalist, built his campaign around Trump’s lies about widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. He doubled down by falsely claiming to have won the 2022 elections.
Thompson previously dismissed the eight counts in Lake’s lawsuit before trial, ruling that they did not constitute valid grounds for election contestation under Arizona law, even if they were true. But he allowed Lake to testify in a two-day hearing on two other accounts involving printers and a ballot chain in Maricopa County.
According to Thompson’s ruling Saturday, Lake’s team had to show someone intentionally disabled the district’s vote-on-demand printers — and as a result, enough “identifiable” votes were lost to change the outcome of the election.
“Each witness before the court denied personal knowledge of such misconduct. The court cannot accept speculation or conjecture in lieu of clear and convincing evidence,” Thompson wrote.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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