PHOENIX - Republican Kari Lake’s lawyers were sanctioned $2,000 Thursday by the Arizona Supreme Court in their unsuccessful challenge of her defeat in the governor’s race last year to Democrat Katie Hobbs.
In an order, the state’s highest court said Lake’s attorney made "false factual statements" that more than 35,000 ballots had been improperly added to the total ballot count. They have 10 days to submit the payment to the court clerk.
"As the Court of Appeals observed, Lake’s argument was focused on one exhibit that included an estimate of the number of early ballot packets based on the number of trays and a different exhibit showing a precise count. 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. The representation that this was an ‘undisputed fact’ is therefore unequivocally false.
Because Lake’s attorney has made false factual statements to the Court, we conclude that the extraordinary remedy of a sanction under ARCAP 25 is appropriate."
The court, however, refused to order Lake to pay attorney fees to cover the costs of defending Hobbs and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes in Lake’s appeal.
Chief Justice Robert Brutinel cited Lake’s challenge over signature verification remains unresolved.
Hobbs and Fontes said Lake and her attorneys should face sanctions for baselessly claiming that over 35,000 ballots were inserted into the race at a facility where a contractor scanned mail-in ballots to prepare them for county election workers to process and count.
When the high court first confronted Lake’s challenge in late March, justices said the evidence doesn’t show that over 35,000 ballots were added to the vote count in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of the state’s voters.
Lawyers for Hobbs and Fontes told the court that Lake and her lawyers misrepresented evidence and are hurting the elections process by continuing to push baseless claims of election fraud. Attorneys for Fontes asked for the court to order Lake’s lawyers to forfeit any money they might have earned in making the appeal, arguing that they shouldn’t be allowed to benefit from their own misconduct.
Lake’s lawyers said sanctions weren’t appropriate because no one can doubt that Lake honestly believes her race was determined by electoral misconduct.
The Arizona Supreme Court has not yet ruled on an election lawsuit filed by Lake, which has been tossed out by lower courts.
Hobbs won the Arizona gubernatorial race with 1,287,891 votes over Lake's 1,270,774 votes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.