A Barack Obama-appointed federal judge has ordered Republican 2022 Arizona gubernatorial election candidate Kari Lake’s legal team to pay $122,200 in sanctions to Maricopa County.
Lake’s attorneys were ordered to pay the legal fees for the Maricopa County officials’ defense team in the Republican’s election integrity lawsuit.
Among the lawyers hit with sanctions is Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who responded by vowing to appeal the order to the Supreme Court.
“Plaintiffs’ counsel Andrew D. Parker, the law firm of Parker Daniels Kibort LLC, Kurt B. Olsen, and the law firm of Olsen Law PC, are held jointly and severally liable for the Maricopa County Defendants’ attorneys’ fees in the amount of $122,200.00,” Judge John J. Tuchi for the U.S. District of Arizona wrote in the ruling.
“Alan M. Dershowitz is held jointly and severally liable with the aforementioned parties up to the amount of $12,220.00.”
Judge Tuchi ordered the parties to pay the sanctions within 30 days of the ruling.
In the 26-page ruling (pdf), Tuchi spent a substantial amount of time determining Dershowitz’s role in the case.
He disagreed that Dershowitz was just a consultant in the case.
The judge did, however, acknowledge that Dershowitz has played a limited role.
Based on the finding, Dershowitz’s responsibility was reduced to 10 percent of the total sanctions, which is $12,220.
Another focus of the ruling is the amount of the sanctions.
Maricopa County demanded the judge award a total of $139,950 in attorneys’ fees.
The judge reduced it to $122,200 considering some of the items listed by Maricopa County are duplicated or not specific enough.
Tuchi said the ruling is to hopefully discourage future copycats from filing similar cases.
“Failing to impose meaningful sanctions here might very well encourage others to follow suit by lending their credibility to documents filed in court without facing any real consequence if their certifications prove hollow or incomplete,” he said in his ruling.
“The need for general deterrence is therefore significant.”
“I did absolutely nothing wrong,” Dershowitz said in a statement.
“I’ve been doing the same thing—consulting on constitutional issues as ‘of counsel’ for 50 years based on the advice of the nations leading ethics lawyer and its leading litigator.
“If the judge had assessed me $1, I would have appealed.
“I will take the case to the Supreme Court.”
Lake, a former television news anchor, and Mark Finchem, a former Arizona state representative, sued former Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and officials in Maricopa and Pima counties in April 2022.
The case sought to change the state’s and counties’ voting procedures.
Dershowitz signed the complaint, as did Parker and Olsen.
But he argued that he thought the complaint showed he was advising Lake, Finchem, and their team in a limited capacity.
Dershowitz said he was only paid for three or four hours of work on the lawsuit’s constitutional questions.
Judge Tuchi dismissed Lake’s lawsuit in August.
The Maricopa County officials named as defendants sought sanctions against Lake for trying to sow doubts about the then-upcoming 2022 elections.
Stephen Richer, the Maricopa County recorder who claims to be a Republican, filed a defamation lawsuit against Lake at the end of June.
Richer claims that he’s faced “violent vitriol and other dire consequences” because of “lies” allegedly spread by Lake.
The claimed “dire consequences” include death threats and the loss of friendships.
“Rather than accept a political defeat, rather than get a new job, she has sought to undermine confidence in our elections and has mobilized millions of her followers against me,” Richer wrote in an op-ed in The Arizona Republic.
The suit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, names Lake, her campaign, and her political fundraising group as defendants.
In addition to unspecified monetary damages, Richer is seeking a court order declaring Lake’s statements false and requiring her to delete them from social media.
The suit claims that Richer has faced death threats, including one that was prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department.
It adds that he has spent thousands of dollars on home security.
Richer claims that he and his wife have altered their routines and law enforcement has stepped up patrols around their home and workplaces.
In response, Lake wrote on her Twitter page that Richer’s lawsuit is an attempt to censor her.
“I’m exposing the massive corruption in our elections and this … is suing me,” Lake wrote in a Twitter post.
“He wants to silence US … corrupt elections have saddled us with disasters like [Joe] Biden and Hobbs.”