Judge sanctions Kari Lake’s attorneys over election case

Two photos show Kari Lake and Alan Dershowitz

Kari Lake appears in a November 2020 YouTube screengrab. Alan Dershowitz was photographed on January 29, 2020 in Washington, DC near the Capitol.

An Arizona-based federal judge has imposed sanctions against the legal team put together by the gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) and another plaintiff in a failed lawsuit against the victorious opponent Katie Hobbs (D) and other defendants from two Arizona County government agencies.

The sanctioned lawyers are not named directly in Thursday’s order, but rather aloud court recordHarvard Law School prof. Alan Dershowitz is Lake’s lead attorney on the matter. Her legal team also includes co-lead counsel Andrew D Parker, Jesse Hersch Kibortand Joseph Alan Pull from Minneapolis. Another member of her legal team is listed as a lawyer Kurt B Olsen from Washington, D.C

Parker, Olsen and Dershowitz signed original complainta amended complaintand a Objection to a request for sanctions.

Those attorneys are believed to be the ones sanctioned Thursday for filing a complaint from the Lake and Arizona State Representative Markus Finchem (R-11), another plaintiff.

Both plaintiffs were represented by the same legal team, the filing shows.

The Lake/Finchem legal action attempted to challenge Grand Canyon State’s use of electronic ballot-tallying devices:

This is a civil rights action for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief to prohibit the use of electronic voting machines in the State of Arizona in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, scheduled to be held on November 8, 2022 (the “midterm election”) unless and until the electronic voting system is implemented made available to the public and subjected to scientific analysis by objective experts to determine whether it is secure from tampering or intruders. The machine companies have consistently rejected this.

Plaintiffs have a constitutional and statutory right to have their ballots, and any ballots cast with them, counted accurately and transparently so that only legal votes determine the winner of each office contested at the midterm election. Electronic voting machines cannot be considered reliably secure and do not fulfill the constitutional and legal mandate to ensure a free and fair election. The use of untested and unverified electronic voting machines violates the rights of plaintiffs and their fellow voters and those seeking office, and undermines public confidence in the validity of election results. Just as the government cannot insist on “trusting me,” private companies that perform government functions like counting votes cannot be trusted without verification.

The lawsuit complained elsewhere what it called “blatant flaws in electronic voting systems” and claimed that “[m]ost” voting machines are over a decade old, have critical components manufactured overseas in countries some hostile to the United States, and use software that is woefully outdated and vulnerable to catastrophic cyberattacks.”

Hobbs was sued in her capacity as “Arizona Secretary of State and Arizona Elections Commissioner.” Other named defendants besides Hobbs were individual members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

US District Judge John J. Tuchi dismissed the lawsuit in August and found on Thursday that sanctions were appropriate.

Tuchi, a Barack Obama Appointment, noted in August that Arizona voting equipment is rigorously tested before it is used to count votes.

“Before a single vote is cast, Arizona voting equipment undergoes thorough testing by independent, impartial experts. Electronic voting machines must be tested by both the Secretary’s Certification Committee and an Election Assistance Commission (“EAC”) accredited testing laboratory before they can be used in an Arizona election,” noted Judge Tuchi, citing various state statutes and referencing for the specific companies doing this performed the independent tests.

He continued:

In addition to the equipment certification process, Arizona voting results are subject to four independent audits—two pre-election audits and two post-election audits. The first of these audits is a logic and accuracy test performed by the Arizona Secretary of State on a sample of the tabulation equipment.

[ . . . ]

The second mandatory test also takes place before election day. For the second test, Arizona counties must perform a logic and accuracy test on all of their tabulation devices. (Citation omitted.) In 2020, Maricopa County’s second audit was also held on October 6, and the tabs counted the ballots with 100 percent accuracy.

The third test is a post-election hand count, the judge said. The fourth is a “post-election logic and accuracy test.”[] carried out by the counties.”

A recitation of how the system was supposed to work was not only provided to support the view that Lake’s lawsuit was unjustified — it was also used to cite the nature of state-level electoral processes.

Judge Tuchi ruled that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue because their allegations were “too speculative to actually establish infringement.” And even if the plaintiffs had filed suit, the judge ruled that the 11th Amendment barred their claims because the heart of the dispute arose underneath Condition law, no federal law, and therefore does not belong in federal court.

“Because the Constitution mandates states to conduct elections, the plaintiffs’ claims can rest solely on the argument that the defendants violated state law by using unsafe or inaccurate voting systems that the plaintiffs allege,” the judge wrote in August .

With the lawsuit dismissed, the judge applied for sanctions on Thursday December 1st. In a 30-page order, he wrote the following:

The court concludes that sanctions are warranted under Rules 11 and 28 USC § 1927. It finds that Plaintiffs have made false, misleading and unsubstantiated statements of fact in their FAC and MPI and that their claims for relief are not based on an adequate factual or legal basis in a reasonable pre-filing investigation in violation of Rule 11(b )(2) and (b)(3). The court further finds that the plaintiffs’ attorney acted recklessly, at the very least, in unduly and exasperatingly multiplying the proceeding by seeking an injunction based on the plaintiffs’ frivolous claims, in violation of Section 1927.

Judge Tuchi wrote that only the lawyers – not the plaintiffs themselves – would be sanctioned, although he found that the plaintiffs acted “far from” “appropriately” in the matter.

“While there are reasons to believe that the Plaintiffs themselves contributed to the Rule 11(b)(3) violations in this case – including the fact that they themselves appear to have voted on paper ballots by supporting the allegations and Representations in their briefs regarding Arizona’s use of paper ballots were contradicted — there is insufficient record to compel the court to exercise its discretion to sanction plaintiffs under this part of the rule,” the judge wrote — and plaintiffs’ attorneys even for the defendants’ charges on the hook.

While the judge generally suggested that the plaintiffs had joined in what was less than admirable litigation, he was careful not to repeatedly or completely blast them. For example, the judge refused to agree with government officials that the plaintiffs had brought the case “for an improper purpose” — namely, when it became “politically profitable” to do so “to promote their political campaigns” among voters who voted the 2020 elections were believed to have been “stolen”. donald trump.

Despite that finding, the judge criticized the general trend of using the federal courts to try to resolve complaints about allegedly “stolen” elections.

“The court shares concerns expressed by other federal courts about the abuse of the judicial system to groundlessly cast doubt on the electoral process in a way that is strikingly consistent with the plaintiffs’ political goals,” he noted.

In support of that premise, the judge cited a number of Trump-related election lawsuits related to the 2020 presidential campaign, including Trump’s previously failed racketeering lawsuit Hillary Clinton and a host of other real or perceived political enemies.

The judge agreed to award “reasonable attorneys’ fees to the Maricopa County defendants” as a sanction, but the exact calculation of those fees remains an open question. It will, the judge ruled, be settled by future filings of papers due no later than 14 days after Thursday’s order.

The lawsuit, concluded Judge Tuchi, “forced the defendants and their attorneys to devote time and resources to defending this frivolous lawsuit, rather than preparing for the election, where the plaintiffs’ allegations baselessly raised a cloud of dust.”

“The plaintiffs’ attorneys are therefore jointly and severally liable for the Maricopa County defendants’ legal fees reasonably incurred in this case,” he said — meaning everyone is on the hook.

The judge closed the case with this letter:

Imposing sanctions in this case does not mean ignoring the importance of putting procedures in place to ensure our elections are safe and reliable. To be clear, the court will not condone litigants who ignore the steps Arizona has already taken to that end and promote false narratives that baselessly erode public confidence at a time of rising disinformation and distrust in the democratic process . It aims to send a message to those who might file similar baseless lawsuits in the future.

Five members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors requested the sanctions; Hobbs—who was declared the winner of Arizona 2022 Governor’s race against Lake – was not among the sanctions on Thursday.

Dershowitz did not immediately respond to an email from Law&Crime asking for comment.

The order granting sanctions is here.

Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected]

https://lawandcrime.com/federal-court/judge-sanctions-kari-lakes-legal-team-which-includes-alan-dershowitz-for-recklessly-filing-false-misleading-and-unsupported-claims-in-election-lawsuit/ Judge sanctions Kari Lake’s attorneys over election case


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