Federal judge orders sanctions for Kari Lake’s legal team in response to voting equipment lawsuit

Federal judge orders sanctions for Kari Lake’s legal team in response to voting equipment lawsuit
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After Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs defeated far-right MAGA Republican Kari Lake in Arizona’s 2022 gubernatorial election, conservative Republican Gov. Doug Ducey congratulated her and said he looked forward to helping with the transition from a Ducey Administration to a Hobbs Administration. But Lake, a conspiracy theorist and Big Lie promoter who falsely claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, has refused to concede to Hobbs. And her campaign, in a lawsuit, questioned “the validity of the election results.”

Lake has also been in court attacking the electronic vote-counting equipment used in Arizona. But a federal judge, John J. Tuchi, disagrees with Lake’s claim that the equipment is problematic. And on Thursday, December 1, Tuchi ordered sanctions against Lake’s legal team.

Attorney/journalist Aaron Keller, reporting for Law & Crime on December 1, explains, “The attorneys being sanctioned are not directly named in Thursday’s order, but according to the court docket, Harvard Law School Prof. Alan Dershowitz is Lake’s lead attorney in the matter. Also on her legal team are co-lead attorneys Andrew D. Parker, Jesse Hersch Kibort, and Joseph Alan Pull of Minneapolis. Further listed as a member of her legal team is attorney Kurt B. Olsen of Washington, D.C. Parker, Olsen, and Dershowitz signed the original complaint, an amended complaint, and (an) opposition to a request for sanctions.”

READ MORE:'The people of Arizona have spoken': Outgoing GOP Governor Doug Ducey congratulates Katie Hobbs

Another far-right MAGA Republican who lost an election in Arizona, State Rep. Mark Finchem, joined Lake as a plaintiff in her lawsuit attacking Arizona’s voting equipment. In the 2022 midterms, Finchem ran for the position that Hobbs presently holds: Arizona secretary of state. And like Lake, he has aggressively promoted the Big Lie and Trump’s debunked voter fraud conspiracy theories. But Finchem lost to Democrat Adrian Fontes. Arizona was once a deep red state, but in 2023, it will have a Democratic governor (Hobbs), a Democratic secretary of state (Fontes) and two Democratic U.S. senators: Mark Kelly (who was reelected in November) and Kyrsten Sinema.

Dershowitz, however, stressed to Law & Crime that he is not questioning the election results in Arizona. And Keller points out that Lake and Finchem’s initial lawsuit questioning Arizona’s electronic voting machines goes back to April.

Dershowitz told Law & Crime, “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.”

Keller explains, “The Lake/Finchem lawsuit as a whole, according to its opening salvo, sought to question the Grand Canyon State’s use of electronic ballot-counting devices. The case was filed in April, and — as Dershowitz noted — that was long before the results of the November 2022 midterms…. The lawsuit elsewhere bemoaned what it called ‘glaring failures with electronic voting systems’…. U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi rubbished the lawsuit in August — again, before the midterms — and on Thursday ascertained that sanctions were appropriate. Tuchi, a Barack Obama appointee, noted in August that Arizona election equipment is rigorously tested before it is used to count votes.”

READ MORE: 'Practical Republicans' in Arizona sunk Kari Lake because 'they want government to work': expert

Tuchi laid out the ways in which Arizona’s voting equipment undergoes extensive testing.

Tuchi wrote, “Before a single vote is cast, Arizona’s election equipment undergoes thorough testing by independent, neutral experts. Electronic voting equipment must be tested by both the Secretary’s Certification Committee and an Election Assistance Commission (“EAC”) accredited testing laboratory before it may be used in an Arizona election…. In addition to the equipment certification process, Arizona’s vote tabulation results are subject to four independent audits — two audits occur before the election, and two audits after.”

The judge continued, “The first of these audits is a logic and accuracy test, which is performed by the Arizona Secretary of State on a sample of the tabulation equipment…. The second required audit also takes place before election day. For the second audit, Arizona counties must perform a logic and accuracy test on all of their tabulation equipment.”

Tuchi wrote that Lake’s claims were “too speculative to establish an injury in fact.” Keller notes that the sanctions Tuchi has ordered only apply to the attorneys, not to plaintiffs Lake and Finchem.

The judge also wrote, “The Court shares the concerns expressed by other federal courts about misuse of the judicial system to baselessly cast doubt on the electoral process in a manner that is conspicuously consistent with the plaintiffs’ political ends.”

READ MORE: 'This is who they are': Critics blast Kari Lake for mocking Paul Pelosi after violent assault

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