Three current and former GOP lawmakers want to avoid paying legal fees of Democrat

By Howard Fischer || Capitol Media Services  January 23, 2023

Three current and former Republican lawmakers are hoping to avoid paying the legal fees of a Democrat who a judge said was unfairly sued by them because she and others asked the FBI and Department of Justice to investigate their actions around the Jan. 6 riot.

Kelley Jancaitis is doing more than asking the Court of Appeals to reinstate their slander suit against Charlene Fernandez. That was tossed out last year by Yuma County Superior Court Judge Levi Gunderson, who said Fernandez had an absolute First Amendment right to do what she did.

She also contends Gunderson was wrong in requiring Mark Finchem, Anthony Kern and Paul Gosar to shell out $75,000 that Fernandez, then a state representative from Yuma, had to pay to her attorneys to convince the judge that not only did the lawsuit by the trio lack merit but that it “was brought for an improper purpose, having been filed against a political opponent primarily for the purposes of harassment.”

Jancaitis said the three had a legal basis to believe that Fernandez knew that there was no factual basis for the federal investigation of their activities. That, she said, entitled them to sue her for slander.

And Jancaitis said allowing the sanctions to stand “will stifle creative advocacy” that protects their rights.

She also has another legal theory.


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January 2023