Judge Orders Far-Right Republican to Pay Legal Costs in Arizona Election Lawsuit – Mark Finchem, an extremist Republican and longtime member of the Oath Keepers anti-government militia group, has been slapped with penalties for his “groundless” lawsuit seeking to overturn his loss in the election to become Arizona’s secretary of state.
Judge Melissa Iyer Julian of the Maricopa County Superior Court had already thrown out a lawsuit filed by Finchem, in which the rightwinger alleged that electoral fraud lost him the November midterm elections, when he was defeated by Democrat Adrian Fontes.
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After Julian dismissed that lawsuit, Fontes and Katie Hobbs, the Democratic candidate who defeated fellow far-right fringe candidate Kari Lake to become the new governor of Arizona, petitioned the court to levy sanctions against Finchem and also Lake, who had filed a lawsuit over her defeat.
Last December, the Arizona Republic reported that Fontes’ legal team described Finchem’s lawsuit as a “politically motivated weaponization of the legal process meant to perpetuate the dangerous narrative that our elections are unreliable, our elected leaders are corrupt, and our democracy is broken – all because Mr. Finchem lost the election.”
Moreover, Finchem and Lake have constantly asserted that Joe Biden’s decisive victory in Arizona in the 2020 presidential election was tainted by voter fraud and should be overturned in favor of Donald Trump. Several media reports stated that Julian has now ordered Finchem and his legal team to cover the legal fees of Fontes and Hobbs and other associated expenditures.
Julian wrote in the case documents: “None of contestant Finchem’s allegations, even if true, would have changed the vote count enough to overcome the 120,000 votes he needed to affect the result of this election. The court finds that this lawsuit was groundless and not brought in good faith.”
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The judge stated that Finchem and his team had not only made no effort to determine the veracity of their accusations of electoral unreliability, but had also persisted in making fraudulent assertions of electoral fraud despite contradicting evidence. She remarked that imposing financial sanctions in such a situation was uncommon, but justified in this case.