Defamation lawsuit against Arizona loser Kari Lake advances

A defamation lawsuit filed against Kari Lake, the right-wing Republican who lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs in Arizona, can proceed. The judge's finding means that Lake, who repeatedly accused election official Stephen Richer of rigging the vote against her, now faces a similar legal mess to other conspiracy-mongers such as Rudy Giuliani, Alex Jones and Fox News–all of whom either owe or have paid massive settlements or damages to those they lied about.

"The court is satisfied that the disputed statements — if indeed they are 'provable' as false or defamatory — would be undeserving of the protections associated with our First Amendment principles," [Judge] Adleman wrote.

The lawsuit, filed in June by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, accuses Lake and her affiliates of spreading false information about Richer following the November 2022 election. He alleges that Lake knew, or should have known, the statements were false. Lake and Richer are both Republicans.

No-one disputes that technical problems with voting machines resulted in long lines in Arizona. Lake claims, without evidence, that Republican Party election officials rigged the vote against her. With the court finding that this was a statement of fact, not hyperbolic trash talk, Lake's best defense now is proving that what she said was true. She is therefore in "deep, deep trouble."

Lake has opened her big mouth to accuse Richer of committing crimes. Repeatedly. Now she'll have to prove it. Prove that he personally sabotaged the 2022 election by adding 300,000 phony ballots to the vote tally. Never mind that the judge in Lake's election challenge rejected that claim a year ago. Prove that he intentionally set printers to shrink Election Day ballots so they couldn't be counted. Never mind that Richer has nothing to do with Election Day voting. Or that the votes ultimately were tabulated. Or that a retired Supreme Court chief justice, hired to investigate the county's Election Day failures, concluded the problem was primarily due to equipment failure, not an intentional act.

Lake's doubled down on her claims in her statements since the ruling, so she's all in.