Judge John Tuchi of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona received a sharp round of criticism from Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s campaign.
Lake is challenging the process of the Nov. 8 election where Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has been declared the winner, according to results certified Monday.
The backlash from Lake’s campaign came in the wake of a ruling from Tuchi on Thursday sanctioning lawyers who represented Lake and Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem in a previous election-related lawsuit, according to KNXV-TV in Phoenix.
That lawsuit, which Tuchi threw out in August, sought to prevent the use of electronic voting machines in Pima and Arizona counties, KNXV reported.
Tuchi tossed the suit on the grounds that Lake and Finchem lacked standing to sue, and called their claims of potential harm “conjectural or hypothetical,” according to Law and Crime.
In Thursday’s ruling, he called the lawsuit “frivolous” and declared that while it sought “massive, perhaps unprecedented federal judicial intervention” in Arizona’s election process, “they never had a factual basis or legal theory that came anywhere close to meeting that burden,” according to USA Today.
Ross Trumble, a spokesperson for Lake’s campaign, fired back at the Obama-appointed judge in a statement, accusing him of inserting a political motive in his shocking ruling to sanction Lake’s team of election attorneys.
“Sanctions like this are rare. In every lawsuit, there will be a winner and a loser. Sanctioning the loser is rare and has to rise to the level of subjective bad faith or frivolity,” Trumble said in the statement, according to KNXV.
“This case is not about money or gain. It was essentially a public interest lawsuit seeking electoral integrity. It is very rare to sanction a party in public interest suits. There were 5 experts called by the plaintiff. One cannot be in ‘bad faith’ with that many experts supporting your theory. They could be wrong. But not bad faith.
“Punishing counsel is a serious effort to impugn the professional reputation of counsel. This could lead to a bar complaint. Doing this deters other lawyers from ever agreeing to help conservatives. We saw this in real-time in 2020 with numerous Trump lawyers.”
In his ruling, Tuchi held nothing back as he excoriated Lake’s lawyers for filing the lawsuit as if they didn’t have the right to seek fair legal recourse over their concerns.
“Imposing sanctions in this case is not to ignore the importance of putting in place procedures to ensure that our elections are secure and reliable,” Tuchi’s ruling read.
“It is to make clear that the Court will not condone litigants ignoring the steps that Arizona has already taken toward this end and furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process. It is to send a message to those who might file similarly baseless suits in the future,” the judge’s ruling continued.
As a result, Lakes lawyers will be required to pay the attorneys fees for Maricopa County, the defendant in the case, because its lawyers had to “spend time and resources defending this frivolous lawsuit rather than preparing for the elections,” Tuchi wrote, according to The Epoch Times.
Ironically, and apparently unbeknownst to Judge Tuchi, for many, the public trust was also undermined on Election Day when errors and issues began popping up in heavily red areas of Arizona — errors that involved voting machines.
Lake and her attorneys are not convinced that the November election process in Maricopa County, Arizona, went over fairly. They believe thousands of Republican voters were disenfranchised after several reported widespread issues with the county’s tabulation machines.
For her part, Lake issued a fiery statement regarding the ruling by Tuchi, who was appointed to the federal bench in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama.
“In June, I sued over the use of tabulators in my election. I alleged these machines were prone to failure This suit was dismissed for standing On election day, 32% of the machines failed statewide Yesterday, an Obama-judge sanctioned my lawyers for bringing the suit at all,” Lake tweeted.
In June, I sued over the use of tabulators in my election. I alleged these machines were prone to failure
This suit was dismissed for standing
On election day, 32% of the machines failed statewide
Yesterday, an Obama-judge sanctioned my lawyers for bringing the suit at all.
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) December 2, 2022
Lake has doubled down since Tuchi’s ruling.
She vowed to take her legal challenge to the Nov. 8 election to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court during an interview on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast.
“We’re ready to go with what we believe to be an exceptional lawsuit. And we believe we will be victorious in that lawsuit. We’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court, if we have to. We will not stop fighting. Because the people of Arizona were disenfranchised.”
.@KariLake: “We’re ready to go with what we believe to be an exceptional lawsuit. And we believe we will be victorious in that lawsuit. We’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court, if we have to. We will not stop fighting. Because the people of Arizona were disenfranchised.” pic.twitter.com/NCqqjzlmt0
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) December 5, 2022
Regardless, it’s clear that Lake and her legal team are fighting for the long haul. Many in Arizona and around the country are not convinced that Arizona’s election process was on the up and up this year.
However, the burden to prove foul play of any sort will be on Lake and her attorneys, especially in the aftermath of the 2020 elections. Hopefully, they’ll get a fair shake from a non-partisan judge at some point.
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