Judge orders Kari Lake to repay thousands of dollars in fees related to election lawsuit
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson on Wednesday ordered former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake to cover about $33,000 in costs for some of the fees related to her failed lawsuit against Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs and Maricopa County officials. But the judge denied the defendants' request to sanction Lake and her attorneys over her lawsuit challenging the integrity of the election.
Thompson also denied a request from the defendants for Lake to repay all of Hobbs' attorneys' fees related to the lawsuit. Maricopa County, in a motion filed and and joined by Hobbs on Tuesday, urged the judge to sanction Lake over the lawsuit, which they said was filed in "bad faith."
On Christmas Eve, Thompson threw out Lake's lawsuit against Maricopa County officials and Hobbs challenging her defeat. Lake has informed the court that she plans to appeal the dismissal.
Thompson said Wednesday that the prevailing party in his court is entitled to an award of some taxable costs, including the fees for witnesses and the cost of compensating someone to be present to inspect the ballots. That amounts to a little over $33,000 in this case.
"There is no doubt that each side believes firmly in its position with great conviction," Thompson wrote. "The fact that the plaintiff failed to meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence required ... does not equate to a finding that her claims were, or were not, groundless and presented in bad faith."
Lake, an ardent Trump supporter, followed in his footsteps in making claims of widespread election fraud. Lake had pledged she wouldn't accept the results of the gubernatorial election if she lost. She did lose, by about 17,000 votes. Her thrown-out lawsuit alleged that printer issues and illegal voting, largely in the populous Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located, cost her the election, but Thompson's ruling said "The Court DOES NOT find clear and convincing evidence of misconduct" to support those claims.
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