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Judge denies Lake’s motions to dismiss Richer defamation case 

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer's defamation lawsuit against U.S. Senate candidate Kali Lake is likely to move forward with judge's decision denied Lake's motion to dismiss. And it turns out that the statements Lake made about Richer were not “rhetorical exaggerations.”

Superior Court Judge Jay Adleman ruled Wednesday morning that Mr. Richer provided sufficient evidence that Mr. Lake had made “false and defamatory statements” about him for the case to proceed to a jury trial. I wrote that I did it.

Lawyers for Lake argued at Tuesday's hearing that Mr. Richer had not presented sufficient evidence to support his defamation claims and that Mr. Richer had used his lawsuit to undermine Mr. Lake's right to free political speech. Mr. Adleman argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed.

However, Adleman was not persuaded by either argument, nor was he supported by Lake's attorney, Jennifer. Wright's argument It said Lake's comments about Richer were “rhetorical exaggerations” and were not meant to be taken as fact.

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“The allegations in this case cannot be classified as merely 'descriptive' language,” Adleman wrote, rejecting Wright's assertion that Lake was merely opining on the facts of the claims about Richer.

Ritchie, a Republican, filed a lawsuit for defamation The move comes after she and her supporters spent months accusing Lake and other Maricopa County officials of wrongdoing in favor of Democratic Gov. Katie Hobb in the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial race. , opposed Mr. Lake in July. Lake, also a Republican, lost the race by more than 17,000 votes, but continued to claim he was the true winner despite losing multiple court cases challenging the election results. ing. On trial and court of appealsas before, Arizona Supreme Court.

Mr. Richer is suing on two main claims that Mr. Lake has repeatedly asserted. One is that he was involved in the “injecting” of 300,000 illegal early ballots in Maricopa County on Election Day 2022, and the other is that he manipulated ballot printers to print illegally sized ballots. It is said that he was involved in intentional programming. Counters will reject those ballots on Election Day because they contain images.

Mr. Lake used both of these arguments in his court challenges to the 2022 election results, but courts rejected both.

On Election Day 2022, incorrectly sized ballot images caused problems for in-person voters, but because tabulators rejected the ballots, all rejected ballots were later counted and independent investigation We found no evidence that the printers were intentionally programmed to print incorrectly sized ballots.

In his sentencing, Adleman pointed to several of Lake's statements, underscoring his determination that they could be proven true or false.

“They knowingly made a mistake knowing that 75% of the people who showed up on Election Day were voting for me,” Lake said of Richer and other Maricopa County officials on a Feb. 20 podcast. “I printed the image on the ballot paper,” he said. “They are intentionally printing false images on ballots to confuse the counting machines.”

In his ruling, the judge also referenced Lake's comments at the Save Arizona Rally on January 29th.

“And we know that due to a lack of custody, 300,000 illegal ballots were counted in the final total,” Lake said during the rally.

Wright argued during Tuesday's hearing that the Arizona Court of Appeals found Lake's claims about illegal ballots to be true, but in fact, the appeals court found that Lake's calculations on the issue were “There are questions,” he said, and did not conclude that the ballots were illegally received and counted.

Adleman also said Lake made the statements about him with “actual malice,” meaning she either knew the statements were false or had reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. It found that Richer had provided sufficient evidence.

This is important because public officials like Richer must prove actual malice to win defamation cases, a higher hurdle than ordinary citizens.

“Plaintiffs have demonstrated a factual and legal basis consistent with First Amendment principles for bringing defamation claims against these defendants,” Adleman wrote.

In response to the judge's ruling, Lake doubled down on his claims about the 2022 election.

“An elected official is suing me for exposing corruption in an election he conducted,” Lake posted on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday morning. did. “He is represented by an army of Soros-backed lawyers. This is a lawsuit that strips people of their First Amendment rights and interferes with U.S. Senate elections. This lawsuit is thrown out of court. I should have.”

Mr. Richer is represented in the lawsuit by an attorney for the nonprofit organization. protect democracy,

Adleman was appointed to the bench in 2013 by then-Republican Gov. Jean Brewer.

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