Cochise County certifies election results as attorneys for Kari Lake and Mark Finchem are admitted


A judge in Arizona on Thursday ordered the governing board of Ruby-Red County in the state’s southeastern corner to certify the results of the Nov. 8 election, finding that its members lacked the authority to avoid a duty required under state law.

“You will meet today,” said Superior Court Judge Casey F. McKinley told three members of the Cochise County Board of Supervisors. “You will canvass the election over 5 o’clock.”

When the committee met at 3:30 p.m., with one Republican absent, the remaining two supervisors, one Republican and one Democrat, voted to certify the results.

The surrender, under a court order, ended a stalemate in Cochise County that threatened to upend the state’s process to confirm the will of more than 2.5 million Arizona voters. The chaos that followed could undermine Republicans’ projected gains in U.S. House seats and statewide races for school superintendents.

Katie Hobbs, Democratic Secretary of State and Governor-elect, aggressively moved to leave the scene. His office sued the Cochise County Board on Monday after its members voted 2-1 to Deadline for all districts To certify the results in a process known as canvassing the election. The government certificate will be issued on Dec. 5.

Condemnation in Cochise County was also played out Thursday by a federal judge. Allowed Attorneys for Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, unsuccessful GOP candidates for governor and secretary of state, respectively. Taken together, these orders show how judges are dismissive of attempts to politicize ministerial posts and undermine election administration.

Federal Judge John Tucci of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona wrote that the sanctions “make clear that the court will not forgive litigants … and promote false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of growing misinformation and mistrust.” In, The Democratic Process.”

Lake and Finchem sued Maricopa County earlier this year to count votes in Pima County, home to Phoenix and Tucson. In August, Tucci dismissed a lawsuit by Lake and Finchem that made vague and unsubstantiated allegations about defects in the voting machines. They filed a notice of appeal the following month.

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In his new ruling Thursday, the judge found that the sanctions were appropriate in the case to “send a message to those who may file similar frivolous lawsuits in the future.”

Tucci, who was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2013, argued that paying attorneys’ fees for Maricopa County was a proper sanction because the county and its attorneys “should have spent time and resources preparing this frivolous case instead.” to the elections where the plaintiffs’ claims have kicked up a cloud of dust without merit.”

Attorneys for Airey and Finchem were not named in the judge’s order, which ordered Maricopa County to detail their attorneys’ fees within 14 days. Among the attorneys listed by the candidates in court filings is Alan Dershowitz, a former Harvard Law School professor who previously advised former President Donald Trump.

Lake, Finchem, Dershowitz and other attorneys involved in the case did not respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit was largely funded by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who promoted the debunked claims of voter fraud. Lindell told The Washington Post on Thursday evening that he had not yet spoken to prosecutors about sanctions, and that they had appealed to dismiss Tucci’s underlying lawsuit. He said the restrictions were unnecessary. “They had more experts and more evidence than any case in history,” he said. “What judges do, including that, is disgusting.”

The judge only allowed lawyers for the candidates, not the candidates themselves, but “the court does not find that the plaintiffs acted appropriately in this matter — beyond that,” he asserted.

“Allowing counsel for the plaintiffs does not mean leaving the plaintiffs out,” he added. “It is intended to penalize specific lawyerly conduct with the broader goal of deterring similar baseless filings initiated by anyone, whether a lawyer or not.”

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Lake, who has He did not admit his race, while at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida and Arizona on Thursday, the order came, according to a person familiar with his activities who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss non-public events. She was scheduled to deliver remarks there and accept the award at an event hosted by Moms for America, which calls itself “a national movement of mothers to reclaim our culture for truth, family, freedom and the Constitution.”

Tucci’s order caps an already dramatic day in Arizona, where post-election infighting has put Cochise County in the spotlight. County supervisors appeared in court without legal representation Thursday afternoon, having only obtained an attorney.

The county’s attorney, Brian McIntyre, declined to represent the supervisors in the matter, having previously advised them that their action was illegal. Next they tried to retain Brian Plemm, an attorney who represented the cybersecurity firm. Cyber ​​Ninjas in its disruptive audit 2020 election in Arizona, but he declined to accept the lawsuit.

Tom Crosby, one of the two supervisors behind the move to delay certification, asked the judge to adjourn the hearing until next week so a lawyer found by the committee, Daniel McCauley, could expedite the case. The judge refused, saying any action was “not in the interest of justice”. Macaulay did not respond to a request for comment.

The judge appeared to consider directing the supervisors to approve the canvass at an already scheduled meeting Friday, and asked the secretary of state’s attorney if taking an extra day would inconvenience state officials responsible for carrying out the certification next week. Attorney Andy Khanna responded that Friday’s approval would be accepted if certain conditions were met.

But later that afternoon, an impassioned argument to order the committee to action came from its only Democratic member, Ann Engle. He abstained from Monday’s vote to delay the ministerial appointment.

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He warned the judge that Crosby called Friday’s meeting “a kind of smackdown between the secretary of state and the election naysayers.” Crosby has expressed concern about the equipment used in the election.

Ordering the committee to convene on Thursday, the judge said such concerns were “not a reason to delay a canvass”. He found that state law “vaguely requires” counties to certify the results by Nov. 28 if ballots are incomplete.

Crosby was not present when the board met later Thursday to comply with the judge’s order. He said in an email that he was not attending “at the advice of counsel for the board,” but did not respond to other questions. Peggy Judd, another Republican, said, “I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done.”

He said he felt compelled to vote to ratify the results “because of the court’s decision and because of my own health and circumstances in our lives.”

But, he added, “I don’t want to be threatened.”

Behind the scenes, the secretary of state’s office issued stark warnings to at least one county about the consequences of refusing to certify, according to emails released through a public records request.

“I found out today that I have no choice but to vote or I will be arrested and charged,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Gold said as officials in GOP-controlled Mohave County met Monday to receive certification. with a crime.”

Communications from state election officials make clear what he said.

State Elections Director Corey Lorick wrote in an email to the Board of Supervisors that day, “Our office will take all necessary legal action to ensure that the votes of Arizona voters are counted. Certificate of Criminal Enforcement.

Ruby Cramer contributed to this report.

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