The lawsuit, which sought to overturn the results of Arizona’s 2022 race for governor, was dismissed after a two-day trial.
A Maricopa County judge has dismissed the election lawsuit filed by failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, ordering her to pay limited legal fees to Arizona Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs.
According to CNN, Maricopa County Judge Peter Thompson dismissed Lake’s complaint on Saturday, finding that Lake had failed to provide compelling evidence of misconduct.
The decision was characterized as a “major defeat” by CNN.
Lake, who lost Arizona’s race for the governorship by about 17,000 votes, had filed a lawsuit challenging the election’s results and seeking to have Hobbs’s victory overturned.
In her lawsuit, Lake alleged that Maricopa County voters had been inconvenienced by long wait times and printer malfunctions.
Since most Republicans vote in-person on Election Day, Lake had contended that voting disruptions would have had an outsized and adverse impact on conservative candidates.
Despite the loss, Judge Thompson stopped short of ordering sanctions against Lake—sanctions that Gov.-elect Hobbs and her attorneys had asked the court to implement and enforce.
“There is no doubt that each side believes firmly in its position with great conviction,” Thompson said. “The fact that Plaintiff failed to meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence required for each element of [Arizona statute] does not equate to a finding that her claims were, or were not, groundless and presented in bad faith.”
“The Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims presented in this litigation were not groundless and brought in bad faith,” Thompson wrote in a Tuesday order.
However, Thompson did order Lake to pay Hobbs an estimated $33,040.50 in compensation for expert witness fees and other legal services.
As LegalReader.com has reported before, Thompson had earlier dismissed eight of the ten election misconduct counts alleged in Lake’s lawsuit.
In his initial ruling, Thompson said that Lake had broadly failed to satisfy the criteria necessary to file an election contest under Arizona state law.
Nevertheless, the judge allowed Lake’s remaining two counts to proceed to a trial, which was held over two days in mid-December.
CNN notes that Lake, a former television news journalist, posited herself as a staunch Trump ally.
In campaign statements and speeches, Lake repeatedly suggested that the results of the 2020 presidential election may have been altered by widespread voter fraud.
Thompson found that, irrespective of Lake’s claims, not a single eyewitness had provided testimony supporting her belief that election misconduct had occurred.
“Every single witness before the Court disclaimed any personal knowledge of such misconduct. The Court cannot accept speculation or conjecture in place of clear and convincing evidence,” Thompson wrote.