Ex-Arizona lawmaker sanctioned over election fraud lawsuit

March 6, 2023 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge on Monday sanctioned former Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem over what the court called “groundless” claims about election fraud in the 2022 mid-tern election. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Melissa Iyer Julian also ordered the ex-Republican lawmaker and his campaign to pay the attorney fees of now Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and current Gov. Katie Hobbs in connection with last year’s dismissed election lawsuit. A judge dismissed Finchem’s suit in December and confirmed the election of Fontes. Julian said the court found Finchem’s allegations that Maricopa County didn’t hold a fair and secure election were “not brought in good faith.” The lawsuit also claimed that Hobbs as secretary of state abused her power by failing to have tabulation machines properly certified and threatened the boards of supervisors in Mohave and Cochise counties with criminal charges if they didn’t certify the election. It also said Hobbs should have recused herself from her position as secretary of state since she was running for governor at the time. The court ruling said none of 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.” It was the third time in the past year that sanctions were issued in lawsuits involving Finchem, who won the GOP primary last year but lost to his Democratic opponent in the general election.