Kari Lake and Other Defendants Capitulate in Richer Defamation Suit

Kari Lake’s Counsel Concedes Client’s Legal Liability and Asks for Hearing to Determine Damages

Phoenix, AZ – Today in Maricopa County Superior Court, Kari Lake, the Lake for Governor Campaign, and the Lake Fundraising Organization conceded their legal liability for defamation of Maricopa County Recorder, Stephen Richer. The Defendants filed a motion with the court asking for an expedited hearing for a default judgment and a hearing to determine the amount of damages to be awarded to Mr. Richer, effectively conceding that they acted with “actual malice” when spreading lies about Mr. Richer. 

“After months of doubling down and defending their lies across Arizona, in the media, and on social media, when push came to shove, the Defendants decided to completely back down and concede that their lies were just that: lies,” said Stephen Richer. “Because of their actions, my family and I have faced an endless barrage of threats — including calls for our execution — I have lost close personal relationships, and I have had my reputation irreparably damaged. I have said from the beginning that no one is above the rule of law and today further validates that belief. I look forward to entering the damages phase of this case.”    

“With today’s surrender, Ms. Lake and the other Defendants have made it clear that they cannot even attempt to defend the lies that she has said about Mr. Richer,” said Jared Davidson, counsel at Protect Democracy. “Given an opportunity to back up her claims in court, she has instead conceded she has no defense—effectively admitting that she spread lies about Mr. Richer and did so with ‘actual malice.’ The only thing left to do now is to determine the amount of the damage done to Mr. Richer as a result of Defendants’ misconduct.”

“Kari Lake and the other Defendants spread disinformation about Mr. Richer, accusing him of intentionally sabotaging the election so that she would lose,” said Larry Schwartztol, a professor at Harvard Law School, where he directs the Democracy and Rule of Law Clinic. “As made crystal clear by their refusal to defend their own statements, Mr. Richer is entitled to a legally appropriate remedy for the harm their statements have caused him.”

“As we have said again and again, there is no First Amendment right to knowingly or recklessly spread false information about someone,” said Jennifer Windom, a Partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP. “Defendants baselessly defamed Mr. Richer for their own gain, and they have tacitly admitted that they have no legal defense for their actions.”

“By permitting a judgment to be entered against her and her co-defendants, Ms. Lake concedes that she intentionally lied about Mr. Richer’s action in the 2022 election that she lost for Governor in Arizona,” said Daniel Maynard, a Partner at Maynard Cronin Erickson & Curran, PLC. “These types of unwarranted attacks on our public servants need to stop. Those who run for public office and lose need to learn to accept defeat with grace rather than falsely attacking those who administer our elections.”

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