Kari Lake, the 2022 Arizona Republican nominee for governor, filed a motion on Monday to dismiss Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s defamation lawsuit against her.
Printers malfunctioned at up to 59 percent of polling locations on Election Day in November in Maricopa County, the Phoenix metro area.
The problem caused tabulators not to be able to read ballots. Long lines formed and because Republicans voted 3 to 1 over Democrats that day, GOP candidates like Lake argued they were most impacted by the chaos and a new election should be held.
In December, a trial judge upheld Democrat Katie Hobbs’ win not seeing evidence that the county intentionally tried to cause the Election Day printer issues and other matters Lake’s attorneys raised at trial.
The ruling was affirmed by the Arizona Court of Appeals and mostly upheld by the Arizona Supreme Court, but the justices did remand one issue back to the trial court regarding whether the county followed signature verification laws.
The trial judge ruled that officials did. Lake has appealed the ruling.
Lake’s motion to dismiss Richer’s suit states, “The sole issue in this case is whether a political candidate should have a judgment entered against her for comments about a public official regarding an election, a matter of significant public concern.”
Richer alleged in his complaint that as a result of Lake’s “knowing and malicious falsehoods” about the election that he and his family have experienced “threats of violence” and had their “lives turned upside down.”
Lake’s attorney Jen Wright said in Monday statement regarding Richer’s suit, “In 2022, the legislature strengthened laws protecting the rights of citizens to speak freely on matters of public concern.
“Richer’s lawsuit is precisely the kind of abuse of the legal system the law was designed to stop. I have every confidence the court will agree, and dismiss the lawsuit,” she added.
Wright previously worked as an Arizona assistant attorney general overseeing the Election Integrity Unit.
Lake contended that she has every right under the First Amendment to critique Richer’s handling of his job.
“Stephen Richer is an elected official. His unlawful attempt to abuse our legal system in order to insulate himself from criticism of his awful job performance establishes a dangerous precedent in our nation’s history,” she said.
“Richer’s attack on the First Amendment would have a chilling effect on Americans’ ability to speak out and criticize public officials, government officials, and politicians. For the good of our Republic, this case should be rejected by our legal system,” Lake stated.
READ my full statement ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/5Xd7HkVtK4
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) August 22, 2023
The First Amendment Clinic of Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law joined in Lake’s motion to dismiss Richer’s lawsuit against her arguing it would stifle free speech.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.