Kari Lake, the Republican candidate defeated by Democratic rival Katie Hobbs in Arizona governor’s race last November, has received a setback in her efforts to challenge the midterm election result.
On Thursday, Arizona Supreme Court ordered Lake’s attorneys to pay $2,000 in sanctions for making the “unequivocally false” claim that more than 35,000 ballots were “injected” into Maricopa County after the election.
Since the results of the Arizona midterms were revealed last year, Lake has said that she would have won the race in Maricopa County if not for the long lines and other technical difficulties that people experienced while voting on election day.
Lake filed the lawsuit asking for the court to throw out the certified election results. It sought either to declare her the winner or to rerun the race, and it falsely alleged that hundreds of thousands of ballots were illegally cast in the state’s most-populous county.
Lake challenged the Arizona Court of Appeals’ rejection of her case in March, which came after other state judges and courts consistently turned down her lawsuit. She once again said that 35,563 “unaccounted for ballots” were added to Maricopa County’s total at a third-party processing facility run by Runbeck Election Services. Lake called her unproven accusation an “undisputed fact.”
Arizona Chief Justice Robert Brutinel said on Thursday that Lake’s claim was unsupported by the case record. He added that her attorneys should have complied with judicial and state law barring them from making false statements.
“Not only is that allegation strongly disputed by the other parties, this Court concluded and expressly stated that the assertion was unsupported by the record, and nothing in Lake’s Motion for Leave to file a motion for reconsideration provides reason to revisit that issue,” the court order read.
“Although Lake may have permissibly argued that an inference could be made that some ballots were added, there is no evidence that 35,563 ballots were and, more to the point here, this was certainly disputed by the Respondents,” the court order added. “The representation that this was an ‘undisputed fact’ is therefore unequivocally false.”
The court imposed a period of 10 days within which to submit the payment of $2,000.
Kurt Olsen, one of Lake’s two attorneys on the case together with Bryan Blehm, told news outlet Axios Phoenix that they “respectfully disagree with the Court’s holding but look forward to presenting our case at trial.” While the Arizona Supreme Court rejected six of seven of Lake’s claims against the election’s results in March, it ordered a trial court to hear arguments about her seventh previously dismissed claim.
The trial court will rule whether Maricopa County did not follow procedure in its verification of signatures used to check voters’ identities before early ballots were counted, as Lake claims. She ran with the endorsement of Donald Trump.
Newsweek contacted Lake’s team for comment through her website.