On Tuesday, an Arizona judge denied Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs’ request to sanction defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake for her failed attempt to overturn the state’s election results.
Lake had filed a lawsuit alleging voter fraud and challenging the November electoral contest’s counting and certification in an attempt to be declared the winner despite a lack of evidence. On Saturday, the Superior Court in Maricopa County dismissed the lawsuit.
On Monday, Hobbs and a Maricopa County deputy attorney asked the court to sanction Lake and her attorneys, claiming that Lake had filed a “frivolous” lawsuit.
Sanctions are typically financial penalties imposed by a judge for a violation of a court rule or misconduct. Hobbs had requested that the court award her more than $600,000 in fees and expenses incurred in defending against Lake’s lawsuit.
Lake’s claims in the lawsuit were not without merit, according to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson’s ruling on Tuesday.
“The failure of plaintiff (Lake) to meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence… does not equate to a finding that her claims were, or were not, groundless and presented in bad faith,” Thomson wrote in his decision.
The lawsuit was filed against Hobbs, who is currently Arizona’s secretary of state and will become governor next week, as well as top Maricopa County officials. Lake’s lawsuit claimed that “hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected the election” in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county.
Lake, a former television news anchor, was one of the most prominent Republicans in the midterm elections to embrace former Republican President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in 2020.
She was defeated in the governor’s race by Hobbs, but she refused to concede and continued to make unconfirmed claims about election irregularities on her Twitter feed.
Lake was one of the most visible Trump-aligned Republican candidates who lost battleground state elections in the midterms.