Arizona governor-elect Katie Hobbs on Monday asked a court to sanction Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake over her effort to overturn the state’s election results.
An Arizona judge on Saturday rejected Lake’s lawsuit that challenged the counting and certification of the November electoral contest in a bid to be declared the winner.
Hobbs joined a motion by Maricopa County for sanctions on Lake and her attorneys in which the county’s deputy attorney Thomas Liddy wrote Lake filed a “groundless” lawsuit for a “frivolous pursuit,” court documents showed.
“Enough really is enough,” Liddy wrote in the motion. “It is past time to end unfounded attacks on elections and unwarranted accusations against elections officials.”
Maricopa County’s motion had “no basis in law or fact,” Lake’s lawyers wrote in a response filed later on Monday, asking the court to deny the request for sanctions.
“Trust in the election process is not furthered by punishing those who bring legitimate claims as plaintiff did here,” the court document filed by Lake’s lawyers said. “In fact, sanctioning plaintiff would have the opposite effect.”
The sanctions would be in the form of a financial penalty imposed by a judge for violation of a court rule or misconduct.
Lake’s lawsuit had targeted Hobbs, who is Arizona’s secretary of state and is to become governor next week, along with top officials in Maricopa County.
Her lawsuit claimed that “hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected the election” in Maricopa, the state’s most populous county.
In a separate court filing, Hobbs also asked the Superior Court in Maricopa County to award her more than US$600,000 to compensate for fees and expenses accrued in defending against Lake’s lawsuit.
Lake lost the governor’s race to Hobbs, but her campaign has refused to concede and wrote on Twitter that she plans to appeal Saturday’s ruling.
“Maricopa County is now working in conjunction with Marc Elias to criminalize election challenges,” her campaign wrote on Monday, referring to a legal counsel for the Democratic governor-elect. “We stand by the evidence of our case and believe we will win on appeal. Should sanctions be granted in this case you will know that we truly live in a Banana Republic.”
Additional reporting by staff writer
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