Maricopa County Asks for Sanctions Against Kari Lake for Contesting Election

For the second time, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell is representing Maricopa County officials asking for sanctions against Kari Lake and her attorneys related to the 2022 election.

The first request was over Lake and Mark Finchem’s lawsuit last year which sought to stop the use of electronic voting machine tabulators in the election. The second request was filed on Tuesday after Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson ruled a second time against Lake’s election lawsuit, following a second trial that he conducted after being remanded back from the Arizona Supreme Court.

Bob Brickman, a local business and elections lawyer, expressed concern over this development.  “There’s widespread public distrust — 50 percent or more — with our courts and state bar attorney disciplinary boards, over following a dual system of justice; one for conservatives, and one for everyone else,” he told The Arizona Sun Times. “This is another example of that, and it only serves to dissuade qualified lawyers from providing legitimate legal services to clients for fear of monetary sanctions by judges, and/or disciplinary reprisals by state bars, despite lawyers doing appropriate due diligence investigations to ensure legal claims pursued were not ‘groundless.’”

Brickman added that things are so bad in Arizona that the state legislature conducted hearings on bills to stop the judicial bias and retaliatory bar complaints. “Unfortunately,” he said, “the bills have failed to pass, leaving lawyers in a quandary.”

He suggested that the grassroots needed to step up with a 2-step action plan. “Number one, reach out to their legislators, and two, consider following what the Democrats do, which is organizing the filing of bar complaints against every single Democratic lawyer involved in election-related cases,” he said.

“Otherwise, the ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ principle inscribed on the Supreme Court of the United States’ building, is at a serious TIPPING Point,” Brickman concluded.

Mitchell was not required to represent the county officials in the lawsuit; if she had disagreed with it, she could have asked outside counsel or another county attorney to replace her. Mitchell ran for office last year with a barrage of campaign literature labeling herself the “conservative” candidate.

The defendants’ motion for sanctions cited the Arizona Supreme Court’s instruction in the case which stated that “rules of attorney ethics apply” when considering whether to award sanctions against a party. They asserted that Lake and her counsel “repeatedly made demonstrably false statements to this Court on remand. These material misstatements of fact brought frivolous arguments and frivolous claims before the Court.”

The county defendants cited a minor sanction the Arizona Supreme Court previously made against Lake’s attorneys.  The court ordered $2,000 against her attorneys for asserting it was an “undisputed fact” that 35,563 ballots were inserted into the ballot counting process at Runbeck Election Systems. The defendants did not mention the amount nor point out that $2,000 is considered an extremely minor sanction.

The motion contended that Lake’s Motion for Relief from Judgment under Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 60 (“Rule 60 Motion”) contained “several demonstrably false statements intended to confuse the Court and expand the remand proceedings.” The defendants claimed that Lake “misrepresented” the McGregor Report. That report was the result of an investigation that Maricopa County officials had retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor conducted into the ballot-on-demand printer problems that occurred on Election Day last fall.

McGregor concluded in her report that it was unknown why the printers failed, but “a technician attempting to correct the issues” was “the most probable source of the change.”

Jennifer Wright, former Election Integrity Unit civil attorney for the Attorney General’s Office, strongly denounced McGregor’s investigation and report in April, stating that she didn’t bother to get to the bottom of why the printers failed, she merely found that they failed. She cited numerous areas McGregor failed to investigate, and disagreed that the thickness of the paper was the problem. “Note the report confirms WILDLY different error rates on seemingly identical machines,” she tweeted. “If the root cause was simply paper thickness and ballot length, you’d expect substantially similar error rates. This report would not be enough to prove causation in a basic tort claim.”

Lake’s team argued that the printing problem likely arose from malware or someone remotely accessing the printers. The defendants accused Lake and her team of making a misstatement by citing the McGregor Report when they asserted the printer manipulation was done intentionally.

Next, the defendants attacked Lake for arguing that the McGregor Report undermined the testimony of Maricopa County Elections co-Director Scott Jarrett. Lake contended that Jarrett lied on the witness stand. Jarrett testified at trial on the first day that there were no problems with the printers. On the second day of trial, he changed his testimony and said that problems had occurred, and that the county was performing a root-cause analysis, which was ongoing. He claimed that it was determined that some techs not authorized by the county made some changes to the printer configurations on site.

Jarrett also said while on the witness stand that the printing problem only happened in three vote centers. But random checks showed it occurred at a minimum of four. Robert Gouveia, an Arizona attorney who has covered Lake’s election contest extensively, said during a live video analysis discussing the hearing, “Jarrett lied on the stand.”

The defendants argued that Lake should have not been allowed to bring up the conflicting testimony by Jarrett again, claiming that it had been fully adjudicated and citing the Arizona Supreme Court’s statement dismissing just one of Jarrett’s alleged lies. The court previously said, “Rather than demonstrating that Mr. Jarrett lied, it [the McGregor Report] actually supports his contention that the machine error of the tabulators and ballot printers was a mechanical failure not tied to malfeasance or even misfeasance.”

Third, the motion claimed that Lake made a false statement when she “asserted that 8,000 ballots were improperly rejected and not tabulated in the 2022 general election.” The defendants said that Lake cited her expert Clay Parikh to come to that number, and claimed, “Parikh’s declaration not only failed to support Lake’s assertion, it contradicted Lake’s assertion.” They cited the court’s previous statement that “tabulator rejection” does not correlate to “votes not counted,” and noted that Parikh had said he did not know if the 8,000 votes were counted.

However, Lake’s team pointed out other evidence that those 8,000 ballots were not tabulated, such as testimony from voters who found out later that their votes were not recorded, and voters who gave up trying to get their ballots to feed properly and left. An exit poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports found that more than 8 percent of voters chose Lake over Katie Hobbs. The tabulator problems occurred predominantly in heavily Republican areas on Election Day, when Republicans are far more likely to vote than Democrats. A large portion of Lake’s case was dedicated to showing how votes from Republicans were not counted, providing many affidavits.

Fourth, the defendants asserted that Lake claimed that no signature verification was conducted at all. Since Lake’s own whistleblowers, Level 1 signature reviewers from Maricopa County, participated in signature verification, defendants said this contradicted Lake’s assertion that none was conducted. Defendants interpreted Lake’s pleadings in the most drastic way possible to come to this meaning, instead of the more natural interpretation of her complaint, that the entire process was full of flaws.

The final accusation of misrepresentation that the defendants accused Lake of was her assertion that the election was “rigged.” However, a recent poll from Rasmussen Reports found that 35 percent of Arizona voters say they have seen compelling evidence that makes them believe there was election fraud in the Arizona 2022 elections. More than a majority, 53 percent, of Arizona Republican voters say they’ve seen compelling evidence of election fraud in 2022. Lake’s assertion isn’t out of line with public thought in Arizona. Lake provided plenty of whistleblower testimony from concerned workers who spoke of massive violations of chain of custody, refusal to conduct Level 2 signature verification, and thousands of signatures that clearly did not match but were approved anyway.

The standard for awarding sanctions is whether a claim is “groundless.” Defendants cited the relevant law in their motion: [A] claim is groundless ‘if the proponent can present no rational argument based upon the evidence or law in support of that claim.’”

Lake’s team will have a chance to respond to the motion before Thompson rules on it.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News NetworkFollow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Image “Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell” by Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell.

Editor’s note: The article was updated to include comment by elections lawyer Bob Brickman.


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One Thought to “Maricopa County Asks for Sanctions Against Kari Lake for Contesting Election”

  1. Jojo

    The courts are corrupt now and they are leaving us with few peaceful options. The democrats are in bed with the globalists and the RINOs love wars.