The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday ordered attorneys for 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake to pay thousands of dollars to repeat “categorically false” election claims in court.
Chief Justice Robert Brutinel fined Lake’s attorney $2,000 for making “false statements to the court”.
Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes sought sanctions after Hobbs lost by nearly 17,000 votes, repeatedly claiming that thousands of “unaccounted” ballots were included in Arizona’s vote count.
Brutinal said that even after the Supreme Court’s “conclusion and clearly stated that the claim was untenable”, Lake continued to “clarify” the claim that 35,563 unaccounted ballots were added to a third-party processing facility tally.
“Sometimes campaigns and their accompanying exaggerations can escalate into legal trouble. However, once a contest enters the realm of justice, the rules of attorney ethics apply,” Brutinel wrote. moral principles on which public trust in our judicial system rests and on which the truth-seeking work of our judicial process is unduly obstructed.”
Brutinel denied Hobbs and Fontes’ request for sanctions for attorneys’ fees.
Lake’s attorney, Kurt Olsen, said in a statement, “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision, but look forward to presenting our case at trial on the illegal signature claim and any other claims that the trial court may consider.” could.”
After building a national profile relying heavily on former President Donald Trump’s promotion of election lies, Lake refused to acknowledge his race and instead launched a legal battle, filing a 70-page lawsuit in December. In which he declared himself the winner.
In March, the state supreme court declined to hear most of Lake’s appeals, but remanded one of his pleas back to the trial court for consideration. His challenge regarding signature verification on Maricopa County’s preliminary ballot remains unresolved.
A spokesman for Secretary of State Paul Smith-Leonard said in a statement that Fontes was “satisfied with the Supreme Court’s order and the responsibility of those seeking judicial redress.”
A spokeswoman for Hobbs’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening.
The ban is not the first time attorneys have been punished for false election claims in Arizona.
Late last year, a federal judge cleared attorneys for Lake and fellow Republican Mark Finchem, who unsuccessfully campaigned for secretary of state, over a lawsuit related to the election.