Arizona GOP official files defamation lawsuit against Kari Lake

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Defamation Lawsuit Filed Against Kari Lake Over False Election Fraud Claims

Arizona Election Official Sues Kari Lake for Spreading Lies

Stephen Richer, a top Republican election official in Arizona, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Kari Lake, who falsely claims that she lost the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial race due to fraud. Richer, the Maricopa County Recorder, states that he has experienced “violent vitriol and other dire consequences” as a result of Lake’s lies, including death threats and loss of friendships.

Lake’s Attempts to Undermine Election Confidence

In an op-ed published in The Arizona Republic, Richer accuses Lake of attempting to undermine confidence in the elections and mobilizing millions of her followers against him. Lake, a former Phoenix television news anchor, has rapidly gained a large political following as a supporter of former President Donald Trump and his false claims about the 2020 election being stolen.

Continued False Claims Despite Court Losses

Despite losing her own race for Arizona governor and a lawsuit challenging the results, Lake continues to allege that Richer and other Maricopa County officials interfered in the election to prevent her victory. A spokesperson for Lake did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Lake is currently considering a run for the U.S. Senate and is a leading contender to be Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign running mate.

Details of the Defamation Lawsuit

The lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, names Lake, her campaign, and her political fundraising group as defendants. Richer is seeking unspecified monetary damages as well as a court order declaring Lake’s statements false, and requiring their removal from social media. U.S. Supreme Court precedent sets a high bar for defamation cases involving public officials, but the recent Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News Channel resulted in damaging disclosures and a $787.5 billion settlement.

Richer’s Complaint: Criticism vs Lies

Richer’s lawyers argue in the complaint that while Lake has the right to criticize Richer, she does not have the right to spread lies that cause him harm. The suit focuses on two specific claims made by Lake: that Richer intentionally printed 19-inch ballot images on 20-inch paper, causing counting issues, and that he inserted 300,000 fraudulent ballots. The lawsuit details nearly three dozen instances where Lake made these claims publicly, either through social media or at rallies and press conferences.

Consequences of Lake’s Lies on Richer’s Life

As a result of Lake’s false claims, Richer has faced death threats, including one that was prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department. Richer has also spent thousands of dollars on home security, and he and his wife have altered their routines due to security concerns. Law enforcement has increased patrols around their home and workplaces. Richer argues in The Arizona Republic that Lake has “gone far outside of the bounds of protected free speech as guaranteed under the First Amendment and the Arizona Constitution.”

Story at – 2023-06-23 02:49:00

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