Kari Lake granted new trial, must prove Maricopa County ignored signature-verification rules

Kari Lake speaks at a campaign event in Scottsdale on Oct. 19, 2022. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy ||Arizona Mirror

JIM SMALL     

Arizona Mirror 

Kari Lake will have one last chance to argue in court that her 17,000-vote loss 2022 election should be overturned — but to actually do so, she will have to prove conclusively that Maricopa County brazenly failed to verify tens of thousands of early voter signatures and that, in doing so, the county affected the outcome in the election.

And the judge in the case, who ruled late Monday that Lake can take her sole remaining claim to trial on Wednesday, made clear that the former GOP gubernatorial nominee has her work cut out for her: She must prove her allegations by “clear and convincing evidence,” something he noted she hasn’t yet done in her monthslong litigation trying to toss out the November election.

Noting that Lake’s allegation of election fraud “leaps over a substantial gap in the evidence presented,” Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson wrote in a ruling Monday ordering the new trial that the evidence she has presented “falls far below what is needed to establish a basis for fraud.”

Thompson also rejected Lake’s bid to revive a claim regarding logic and accuracy testing of Maricopa County’s ballot-on-demand printers and tabulators that was previously dismissed. Lake’s attorneys argued that new evidence uncovered after the claim was dismissed warranted its reconsideration.

But the judge said Lake was really trying to introduce a “wholly new claim” against the county, as her focus had shifted from alleging intentional malfeasance with the county’s election site printers to the tabulators that were at polling locations in November.

Thompson also noted that Lake’s attorneys, Scottsdale divorce lawyer Bryan Blehm and Washington, D.C., employment attorney Kurt Olsen, for wantonly misrepresenting the findings of an independent investigation that Maricopa County commissioned after the election to determine why ballot machinery malfunctioned on Election Day, causing long lines at many polling places. Lake said the report showed that Scott Jarrett, the county’s election director, lied in her December trial when he said the mechanical errors weren’t the result of malfeasance.

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