The Secretary of State's Office's and Katie Hobbs' attorneys filed their Replies with the Arizona Supreme Court yesterday and today, arguing that it is "essential" that Kari Lake and/or her attorneys be sanctioned for alleging "under undeniably false pretenses" that more than 35,000 ballots had been illegally injected into Maricopa County's election.
The Supreme Court had declined to consider most of Lake's appeal, and asked for the additional briefings about sanctions on that ballot-injection claim - which they said was not supported in the trial court's record. Lake's attorneys filed their Response last week, tripling down on the claim and asking the court to reconsider their entire appeal again. (Rules do not permit a Motion for Reconsideration of a denied Petition for Review.)
Both Replies covered similar ground. Hobbs (in her personal capacity as the candidate who defeated Lake by more than 17,000 votes) set out a chronology of the "moving target" of Lake's chain-of-custody claim, concluding:
"Lake would now have this Court believe that she has finally stumbled upon a bullseye, having uncovered an “undisputed fact” of 35,563 unaccounted-for ballots lurking in the trial court record that her counsel and three Arizona courts had somehow missed. But once again Lake’s claims are not supported by the evidence."
The Secretary of State's Reply was equally blunt:
"Ms. Lake and her counsel have attempted to mislead this Court – and worse, the public at-large – by knowingly misstating the facts and evidence on appeal. This is not an instance of someone invoking their constitutional right to free speech. Ms. Lake and her counsel have tried to use our judiciary as a mechanism to topple an election under undeniably false pretenses. Such misconduct warrants stern rebuke from Arizona’s highest Court. Sanctions are not just appropriate, they are essential to ensure that all who seek judicial redress do so in good faith."
At the trial court level, Judge Peter Thompson did not sanction Lake's team for opposing attorneys' fees, but did order her to repay $33,040 in taxable costs.
Both Replies also pointed out the Court Rule (22(f)) not allowing Motions for Reconsideration in this situation.
The Supreme Court should rule on the sanctions motions shortly, and then send it back to Superior Court for Judge Thompson to re-rule on Motions to Dismiss the last remaining count dealing with alleged improper signature verification.
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