The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a hearing in connection to GOP candidate Kari Lake’s signature verification issue, while fining her lawyers $2,000 for their claims that were made about ballots.
“It is further ordered that the trial court shall forthwith conduct such proceedings as appropriate to resolve the unrelated question previously remanded,” wrote Justice Robert Brutinel in the order (pdf).
Previously, the court remanded one of several of her election-related claims to trial court and allowed sanctions to be considered against her. Specifically, Lake’s claim that Maricopa County violated its signature verification rules during last year’s election was allowed to proceed to trial court after it was improperly dismissed by a lower court, it was ordered.
The court fined Lake’s lawyers $2,000 for what they said were “unequivocally false” claims that more than 35,000 ballots were “injected” into Maricopa County’s total after the midterm election finished. Lake’s lawyers in March said that those ballots were added to the total at a third-party processing facility, while noting that Lake lost to now-Gov. Katie Hobbs by 17,000 votes.
“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 order said.
“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,” it added. “The representation that this was an ‘undisputed fact’ is therefore unequivocally false.”
Lake’s attorneys said the chain of custody for ballots was broken at an off-site facility where a contractor scans mail-in ballots to prepare them for processing. The lawyers asserted that workers put their own mail-in ballots into the pile rather than returning them through normal channels, and that paperwork documenting ballot transfers was missing. Maricopa County disputes the claims.
An attorney for Lake, Kurt Olsen, disputed the $2,000 fine in a statement to multiple news outlets. “We respectfully disagree with the Court’s holding but look forward to presenting our case at trial,” Olsen told Axios, referring to the upcoming trial.
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