Kari Lake gets her trial. Now comes the hard part

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake pumps her fist after speaking during an Arizona Republican election night gathering at Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch on Nov. 8, 2022.
Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake pumps her fist after speaking during an Arizona Republican election night gathering at Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch on Nov. 8, 2022.

Kari Lake will get her day in court to prove that the election was rigged. Arizona is saved.

For now, at least.

A Maricopa County judge late Monday ordered a trial on portions of two of Lake’s claims, throwing out eight others.

Now comes the hard part. She’s got to prove that the election was stolen.

And if she can’t, the judge left open the door to order sanctions for frivolous claims.

Judge threw out all but 2 of Lake's claims

Still, Monday’s ruling was a victory for Lake, who was jubilant over what she called her “huge win”.

“Buckle up Arizona,” she tweeted late Monday.

And, oh by the way, send money.

Lake filed a lawsuit filled with 70 pages of grievances, asking a judge to declare her Arizona’s new governor or, in the alternative, to order a redo of the Nov. 8 election won by Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs.

On Monday, Judge Peter Thompson threw out most of her claims, including her charge that “tens of thousands” of early ballots with mismatched signatures were counted and that a “secret censorship campaign” cost her votes.

But he ordered a trial beginning Wednesday on portions of her remaining two claims. Specifically:

  • That a Maricopa County elections official intentionally caused ballot-on-demand printers to malfunction on Election Day, and that enough “identifiable” votes were lost to cost her the election.

  • That employees at Runbeck Election Services, the county’s ballot contractor, illegally added ballots of family members and that any failure by the county to maintain a proper chain of custody “was both intentional and did in fact result in a changed outcome.”

Present actual evidence or face sanctions

In order words, it’s put-up or shut-up time for Lake.

If she’s got actual evidence of the above claims, she’ll need to bring it or potentially face sanctions.

“Evidence is not before the Court at the motion to dismiss stage – pleadings, made under the auspices of Rule 11 (the rule governing sanctions) are,” the judge wrote. “Accordingly, Plaintiff must show at trial that the BOD printer malfunctions were intentional, and directed to affect the results of the election, and that such actions did actually affect the outcome.”

Intentional misconduct that “did actually affect” the outcome.

Key facts:What's disputed in Kari Lake's election challenge

That’s a high bar.

Lake will have two days in court to prove her case, during which time her attorney can grill Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer. Lake withdrew her demand that Gov.-elect/Secretary of State Katie Hobbs testify, given that neither of the remaining claims involves her office.

Yet she's still crowing on Monday about getting Hobbs on the witness stand.

If she fails, will Lake accept election results?

Lake is not alleging fraud in her lawsuit. But on Sunday, she had a message for the “crooks” who run Maricopa County’s elections.

“They have built a house of cards here in Maricopa County,” she told supporters at a Turning Point USA event. “I think they’re all wondering what I’m gonna do. I’ll tell you what, I’m not just gonna knock that house of cards over. We’re going to burn it to the ground.”

And if she can’t “burn it to the ground”?

Lake is getting her day in court – an opportunity to prove all that she has ranted about for the last 42 days.  The chance to make her case she is rightly Arizona’s next governor.

But if that judge decides otherwise? If he finds there is no evidence of a plot afoot to deny Lake her due?

Anybody think she'll accept the outcome if she loses?

Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kari Lake gets her election trial. Now comes the hard part