A judge denied sanctions against Arizona Republican candidate Kari Lake in her recently tossed 2022 election lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of last month’s governor’s race.
The ruling, issued Tuesday, is a blow to Arizona Governor-elect Katie Hobbs (D) and Maricopa County, who sought as much as $700,000 in penalties to cover the attorneys’ fees and costs from Lake and her attorneys.
“There is no doubt that each side believes firmly in its position with great conviction,” wrote Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson.
The judge explained that his dismissal of Lake’s case does not equate to determining that Lake’s claims were “groundless and presented in bad faith.” He added: “Any legal decision must be based on the law and facts rather than subjective beliefs or partisan opinions, no matter how strongly held.”
The judge did award Hobbs roughly $33,000 in taxable costs and affirmed Hobbs as the winner.
Lake, a former journalist who prioritized election integrity as a candidate, sued Hobbs and Maricopa County, which struggled with problems during the November 8 election, after the results showed that she lost the contest by roughly 17,000 votes. Hobbs is currently Arizona’s secretary of state, the top elections official in the state.
Thompson initially dismissed eight out of 10 claims in Lake’s lawsuit but allowed two claims to proceed that had to do with allegations of intentional misconduct related to malfunctioning ballot printers and a failure to follow ballot chain-of-custody procedures.
After a brief trial in Phoenix, the judge determined on Saturday that Lake and the witnesses she called to testify failed to make an adequate case, even after being granted limited ballot inspections.