Judge calls election lawsuit ‘baseless,’ orders Kari Lake, Mark Finchem to pay court fees

Kari Lake and Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem alleged that the vote-counting machines used in Arizona aren’t reliable. A judge tossed that lawsuit in August.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A U.S. District Court Judge in Phoenix ordered former Arizona GOP candidates Kari Lake and Mark Finchem to pay court costs incurred by Maricopa County to defend against what the judge said was a lawsuit “filled with false narratives.”

In August, Judge John J. Tuchi dismissed Lake and Finchem’s lawsuit over the county’s electronic ballot machines.

“It is to make clear that the Court,” Judge Tuchi wrote. “Will not condone litigants ignoring the steps that Arizona has already taken toward [elections] 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.”

Maricopa County election official Bill Gates offered a statement after Thursday’s ruling:

As a former Election Day lawyer for the Arizona Republican Party, I have deep respect for the election contest process because it allows campaigns a venue for legitimate grievances by distinguishing truth from conjecture.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many examples in recent years of attorneys trying to weaponize the court for political purposes, in particular, to undermine free and fair elections. It is wrong, it is unethical, and these attorneys must be held accountable if we are to protect our democratic republic.

Today’s sanctions against the lawyers who brought the frivolous Lake v. Hobbs case are a win for the rule of law. Although rarely imposed, Rule 11 sanctions serve as a consequence for those who file baseless and meritless lawsuits.

A judge already dismissed the lawsuit, but Maricopa County asked for sanctions because these claims are demonstrably false.

Today, Judge Tuchi ruled that “the Court will not condone litigants…furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust as a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process.”

Bill Gates, Chairman for the Maricopa County board of supervisors

County election officials will have 14 days to list out all of the court costs.

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