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Kari Lake Takes Fresh Legal Action Against Maricopa County Official

Defeated gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has filed a motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against her by Maricopa County officials, saying her challenge to Arizona's November interim financial results is of “serious public concern.” submitted.

Lake targeted Maricopa County Senior Recorder Stephen Richer as one of those suspected of interfering with the midterm elections. She repeatedly called him a “fraudster” and accused him of adding 300,000 fake ballots to the final tally, among other crimes, but a county judge dismissed the suit earlier this summer. did.

Mr. Richer, a Republican, filed a defamation suit against Mr. Lake in June, alleging that the false accusations against Mr. Lake led to threats of violence and death. But Lake's lawyer now went back to Richer, claiming he was trying to silence Lake.

Former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake listens to Donald Trump's speech at the Faith and Freedom Pathways to Majority conference at the Washington Hilton on June 24, 2023. Mr. Lake of Washington DC…

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“In 2022, the Legislature strengthened laws that protect the public's right to speak freely on matters of public concern,” Lake City Attorney Jen Wright said in a statement Monday. “Mr. Richer's case is exactly the kind of abuse of the legal system that this law is designed to prevent.”

It added: “Steven Richer is an elected official. His unlawful attempt to exploit our legal system to protect himself from criticism of his poor job performance sets a dangerous precedent in our nation's history.” has been established,” he added.

“There is no provision in the U.S. Constitution to hurt feelings,” Lake wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, commenting on the motion to dismiss. “I have a right to free speech, and I have every right to remind Stephen Richer that he has betrayed the people of Maricopa County.”

He added: “We cannot expect him to count our votes.”

Lake's complaint was joined by Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law's First Amendment Clinic, which argued that Richer's lawsuit stifles free speech.

newsweek Richer was contacted for comment Wednesday via email, and Lake's team was contacted via a form on the website.

Lake, a former TV host turned Republican firebrand with support from Donald Trump, is trailing Democrat Katie Hobbs by 17,000 votes in the November 2022 Arizona gubernatorial race. I was defeated.

She refused to concede, instead legally challenging the election results and calling for the race to be rerun or declared the winner. Lake claimed fraud in Maricopa County, where 60% of voters live, prevented Republican voters from casting votes in his favor.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson dismissed her lawsuit, but the Arizona Supreme Court later ruled that Lake's county officials failed to verify signatures on mail-in ballots as required by law. claim has been revived.

Although Thompson dismissed Lake's last legal claim in May, concluding there was no evidence that Maricopa County officials failed to verify signatures on mail-in ballots, Richer said he was concerned about his reputation and character. He said the damage was significant.