Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX — Three Republican lawmakers have to pay a Democratic opponent’s attorneys’ fees after filing what a judge called a fruitless lawsuit against her.
Yuma County Superior Court Judge Levi Gunderson said that then Yuma Democratic state representative Charlene Fernandez would send a letter to federal law enforcement officials to investigate the activities of state legislator Mark Finchem. He said it was clear that he had a constitutional right. R-Oro Valley, now former state legislators Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, and Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, in connection with the Jan. 6 riots and breaches of the U.S. Capitol.
More importantly, the judge said the lawsuit was “primarily brought against political opponents for the purpose of harassment and was brought for improper purposes.” Details of legal grievances and political beliefs.
“A significant portion of the content of the original and first amended complaints appears to have been written for an audience other than the assigned judge,” he wrote.
As such, Republican politicians now share $75,000 in legal fees, plus an additional $616 in costs.
Finchem said Tuesday it was still considering an order. There was no immediate reply from others.
In a lawsuit filed last year, Fernandez said he knew, or should have known, that there was no evidence linking any of them to the Jan. 6 riots and the US Capitol breach. along with other Democratic lawmakers wrote to the FBI and the Justice Department asking them to investigate the two men who were in Washington for the event.
In that letter, Fernandez and others stated that there was evidence that they “actively encouraged the mob both before and during the attack on the Capitol,” and that they “encouraged this anti-democratic riot, facilitated, participated, and perhaps helped plan.”
The trio allege, through their lawyers, that Fernandez knew the allegations that helped incite the protesters were false, or that she made them “in reckless disregard for their truth or falsehood.” are doing.
Finchem initially lodged a complaint with the House and Senate Ethics Committees against every Democratic state legislator who signed the letter. However, they were promptly dismissed.
That led to a lawsuit, but only against Fernandez, but first between Finchem and Khan. Gosar later joined.
There was no clear explanation as to why they chose her.
However, according to the complaint, Fernandez “has a history of making disparaging comments” about Khan. That included accusations that, as chairman of the House Rules Committee, his decision to “hold” the bill was persuasive. to the entire House of Representatives to call for a vote and his removal from that post.
She also said she “advocated for the expansion of mail-in ballots and other measures that would make state elections more vulnerable to fraud,” adding, “Measures plaintiffs support to increase the integrity of state elections.” We are opposed to and are trying to nullify it,” he said. ”
Gunderson said it was clear in his new order that Fernandez and the others who signed the letter did nothing that merited a lawsuit.
“Following the event of national significance on January 6, 2021, defendants, along with 41 other Arizona legislators, have the right to express their concerns to federal law enforcement officials by signing a January 12 letter. had,” he wrote. It had the right to require federal law enforcement officials to investigate the involvement, encouragement, or participation of designated legislators in connection with the events of January 6. ”
Both Finchem and Khan marched towards the Houses of Parliament that day, but there is no evidence that either went inside. Gosar was on the inside in his role as a congressman, working to block verification of Biden’s election.
All three were part of the “Stop Theft” movement.
The lawsuit revives original claims (all unproven) that there was “fraud” in Joe Biden’s election and that social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook suppressed harmful articles about Biden’s son Hunter. provided them with new opportunities to And his laptop, which contained his business documents.
That, coupled with their belief that the integrity of the electronic voting system was at stake, was what they claimed was a “mysterious change in the state of flux” in vote tallies on election night.
That’s why they said they had “sufficient grounds” to challenge the outcome of the election, and why they went to Washington on January 6, the day Congress authenticates the electoral votes. any act of violence.
Nothing convinced Gunderson, who provided the basis for suing Fernandez.
“Defendants’ conduct was expressly protected by both freedom of speech and the right to petition the government, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the corresponding provisions of the Arizona Constitution.
Finchem is currently the Republican nominee for Secretary of State.
Khan won the Republican state Senate primary, with no Democratic opposition. Gosar is seeking another two-year term in the US House of Representatives.
Fernandez resigned from Congress last November to take a job in the Biden administration.