The highest court in the state stated in a directive that the lawyer representing Lake provided “inaccurate factual statements” claiming that over 35,000 ballots were incorrectly included in the overall ballot tally. The court clerk must remit the payment within a period of 10 days.
However, the court denied Lake’s appeal to compel him to reimburse the attorney fees incurred by Hobbs and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, both of whom are Democrats.
Chief Justice Robert Brutinel stated that Lake’s dispute regarding signature authentication remains unresolved.
Fontes and Hobbs stated that attorneys should face baseless sanctions for 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 workers to count in the county election.
When the high court first confronted Lake’s challenge in late March, the justices said that 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.
Attorneys Fontes and Hobbs told the court that claims of election fraud are baseless and continue to harm the electoral process. They argued that lawyers should not be allowed to benefit from their own misconduct and requested the court to order Lake’s lawyers to forfeit any money they might have earned in making the appeal.
Lake’s lawyers said sanctions weren’t appropriate because no one can doubt that Lake honestly believes her race was determined by electoral misconduct.
Lake refused to concede, unlike the majority of other election deniers nationwide who conceded after losing their races in November. Lake’s campaign focused on amplifying former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the election, making her one of the most outspoken Republican candidates in 2022. Despite losing to Hobbs by a margin of approximately 17,000 votes, Lake stood out as one of the Republican candidates most actively promoting former President Donald Trump’s election lies.
In her challenge, Lake concentrated on issues with ballot printers at certain voting locations in Maricopa County.
Alleged intentional misconduct resulted in problems with the printer ballot in Lake. Backed up lines were observed amid confusion in some areas. The defective printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by the tabulators on-site at polling places.
All the ballots were counted because those affected by the printers at the election headquarters had a chance to vote, say county officials.
The Supreme Court of the state declined to hear nearly all of Lake’s appeal on March 22, stating that there was no evidence saying that 35,000 ballots were to be added to the vote totals.
The latest order will allow litigating the matter to resume in a court trial. The lower-court judge is considering sending back the claim to the court. The high court in Maricopa County has revived Lake’s claim, challenging the application procedures for verifying early ballots’ signatures.
In mid-February, the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected Lake’s assertions, concluding that voters whose ballots were unreadable at polling places were not able to present evidence to the tabulators.
Lake’s attorneys claimed that the county disputes the claims. They asserted that ballot transfers documenting paperwork were missing, and instead of piling the mail-in ballots into their own channels, workers put them into normal mail. The lawyers argued that the processing facility, where a contractor scans mail-in ballots, was broken, thus breaking the custody chain of the ballots.