Kari Lake Signals Concession in Defamation Suit Over Election Fraud Claims

Kari Lake
Credit: LM Otero / AP file

Kari Lake, a prominent figure in the Republican Party with aspirations for a U.S. Senate seat, seems to be conceding to a lawsuit that accuses her of defamation, a case initiated by Stephen Richer, the Maricopa County Recorder. This legal battle stemmed from Lake’s allegations against Richer, suggesting his involvement in undermining the electoral process in an election where Lake was defeated by Democrat Katie Hobbs by a margin of 17,000 votes.

The lawsuit took a significant turn when Lake opted for a motion default judgment. This legal maneuver suggests that Lake is seeking to have a jury determine the financial repercussions of her actions without proceeding through the discovery phase, where she would be required to disclose detailed information. This strategy was highlighted in reports by Vote Beat, shedding light on the complexities of the case.

“She has decided she cannot defend herself in this case despite continuously saying she has evidence,” said Ben Berwick, a lawyer at Protect Democracy which is among the firms representing Richer in the lawsuit against the candidate who failed in her 2022 run for Arizona governor. In a statement to The Washington Post, a senior adviser to Lake countered: “Kari Lake maintains she has always been truthful.”

“Kari: You lied,” he wrote in a tweet “You just accepted liability. You will now have a judgment entered, in court, against you, for lying about our elections and me. It was all B.S.”

Richer, also a Republican, filed a defamation lawsuit against Lake last summer. He took legal action in response to Lake’s disparaging remarks, which insinuated Richer’s involvement in electoral fraud during the gubernatorial race. While Lake did not mention Richer by name, she made broad accusations against what she termed as “powerful forces” engaged in “lawfare.”

Lake described this as a tactic to exploit the legal system with the intent to penalize, financially drain, and ultimately dismantle the careers of political adversaries. She drew parallels between her situation and the challenges faced by former President Donald Trump, suggesting a concerted effort to sideline them from political engagement.

Richer’s legal complaint highlighted specific statements made by Lake that he deemed defamatory. One such claim involved an assertion that Richer and his legal team deliberately used 19-inch images on 20-inch ballots to disrupt the 2022 general election in Arizona. Furthermore, Lake accused Richer of incorporating approximately 300,000 “illegal,” “invalid,” “phony,” and “bogus” early-vote ballots into the vote tally of Maricopa County.

Lake’s prior legal documents further accused Richer of orchestrating the election to thwart the success of Republican candidates, including herself. These allegations form the crux of the lawsuit, representing a contentious clash between two members of the Republican Party, set against the backdrop of a highly polarized political environment. The lawsuit underscores the deep divisions within the party and the broader political landscape, where allegations of electoral misconduct and the use of legal avenues for political battles have become increasingly common.

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