OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The campaign of Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has issued a blistering response after being rebuked by a federal judge appointed by then-President Barack Obama, who also imposed a fine after filing an election-related lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge John Tuchi of the District of Arizona rejected a Lake lawsuit earlier this year and then moved to fine her attorneys and those of Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem last week.
“Imposing sanctions, in this case, is not to ignore the importance of putting in place procedures to ensure that our elections are secure and reliable,” Tuchi wrote in his order. “It is to make clear that the Court will not condone litigants ignoring the steps that Arizona has already taken toward this end and furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process.
“It is to send a message to those who might file similarly baseless suits in the future,” Tuchi’s order noted further.
That led to a fiery response from Lake’s legal team, which accused him of acting in a politically motivated manner while disputing his conclusions.
“This case is not about money or gain,” said Lake campaign spokesperson Ross Trumble in a statement to media outlets. “It was essentially a public interest lawsuit seeking electoral integrity.
“It is very, very rare to sanction a party in public interest suits. All in all, this reads like an angry Obama appointee who wants to send a message. The message is if you lose, shut up and don’t come to court. The message is not that you lost a case or acted in bad faith,” he added.
Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz was one of the attorneys who joined the Lake and Finchem legal team, telling Law & Crime last week that he did so in support of election integrity.
“I have not challenged the results of any Arizona elections. I have given legal advice about the future use of machine counting by companies that refuse to disclose the inner workings of their machines. I support transparency in elections,” he said.
In an appearance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Lake said she planned to “continue to fight for the people of Arizona” in spite of the federal judge’s sanctions.
“This is not about me. I’ve said this all along; I’m just one voter, but I care deeply about Arizona. It is not fun to be in the middle of this,” Lake said. “But we have no other choice. I have no other choice but to stand up and fight right now for the people of Arizona. If I don’t, who will?”
Late last month, Lake’s team filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County election officials seeking records pertaining to the recently concluded election.
The lawsuit states:
Plaintiff desires that every lawful vote be properly counted and every voter who was eligible to vote be allowed to vote. Unfortunately, due to Defendants’ failures, many eligible voters may not have been able to vote. Because Defendants were unable or unwilling to conduct a reconciliation of voter check ins against ballots cast of each polling center on election night in accordance with Arizona law and have now unlawfully refused to produce public records in response to two public records requests regarding how they administered the election, Plaintiff cannot determine that every lawful vote will be properly counted. The records Plaintiff requested in response to the numerous issues with Defendants’administration of the election are consistent with a parallel demand by the Arizona Attorney General for answers to questions about the Defendants’ actions.
The suit named Stephen Richer, who is the Maricopa County recorder, and other officials and was filed in Arizona Superior Court. The suit seeks prompt release of certain information regarding how the elections were administered, “which featured widespread issues in the state’s largest county,” The Epoch Times reported.
“Given instances of misprinted ballots, the commingling of counted and uncounted ballots, and long lines discouraging people from voting, as demonstrated in the attached declarations, these records are necessary for Plaintiff to determine the full extent of the problems identified and their impacts on electors,” the 19-page lawsuit says.