Populist firebrand, former journalist and truth speaker Kari Lake has been targeted with a defamation lawsuit for saving some means stuff about Stephen Richer, an AZ Election official and Lake and her team have filed for dismissal of that suit this week.
“There will be another filing from my team coming in the days ahead. This is huge —ASU’s first amendment group got behind this case. They see it as a landmark first amendment case. Richard hired a bunch of Harvard University activists, and lawyers to try to come in and silence Arizonans and take away our first amendment rights,” Lake told Frontline America, adding:
“This is a pretty big deal because ASU’s first amendment institute jumping on board shows that even more liberal-leaning groups are horrified by Stephen Richard trying to silence me or the public. They realize the ramifications if the public can’t speak out and criticize elected officials, politicians, and government officials. The ASU First Amendment Clinic has donated its time and resources to protect free speech by filing a strong motion to dismiss under Arizona’s laws against strategic lawsuits against public participation (anti-SLAPP) on your behalf. Arizona law gives significant protections to citizens’ rights to speak freely about matters of public interest, and those rights don’t end because an elected official doesn’t like criticism,” Lake said.
And her attorney talked a real landmark case:
“In 2022, the legislature strengthened laws protecting the rights of citizens to speak freely on matters of public concern. Richer’s lawsuit is precisely the kind of abuse of the legal system the law was designed to stop. I have every confidence the court will agree and dismiss the lawsuit.” Jennifer Wright, Lake Attorney
LAKE SAID STUFF LIKE THIS:
Richer got mad and announced he is going to sue Lake:
And this week, after months of speaking ‘truth to power’ over the highly suspicious election process, which she has done since the 2020 election cycle, Lake has an update about the ‘cry baby’ defamation case.
She wants it dismissed on the grounds that questioning an election and talking about it is a First Amendment Right.
Being harassed with lawfare is what has happened to Lake as a consequence of reporting on the public’s concern for highly erratic election issues. Concerns are so huge that it maked them lose trust in the entire election process.
And as easy as it would be to address those concerns, people like Richer would prefer to sue and harass the messenger instead.
Here is Lake’s statement announcing her legal team’s request to dismiss the defamation case:
Basically, according to Lake and her team, they are saying that the defamation suit is for the purpose of trying to make Kari Lake and anyone else in the future be quiet about election irregularities- which is completely convenient for people who want power and can actually win.
Here are some more details the timeline of lawsuits:
So- about a month ago, an Arizona election official announced that he is suing Lake for blaming her election loss last year on widespread fraud. The Washington Post reported that the plaintiff is Stephen Richer, a Republican whose title is “Recorder” of Maricopa County.
Richer is accusing Lake of defamation, saying the former GOP gubernatorial candidate has been smearing his name and throwing around accusations of sabotage. Reportedly, Lake even displayed a photo of him at one of her rallies.
Lake as a reporter had some solid understanding of politics, and when she ran for Governor of Arizona, she gained a massive following. During her entire campaign cycle, Lake was growing as a national figure as well, and she has since earned a very stable movement of supporters who anticipate hearing from her on issues of politics and media.
And that is enough, apparently, to make Lake’s opponents seek remedies to make her be quiet because, from all appearances, the opposition of America First policies is losing ground and growing more and more desperate.
Desperate enough, perhaps, to abuse the court system and try to use them to make Lake be quiet, even if they have to infringe on her First Amendment rights.
Here are some details as reported by Arizona Daily Independent:
“Arizona governor candidate Kari Lake has often criticized Michael Crow, the president of Arizona State University (ASU) for myriad perceived offenses. But three ASU students may hold the key to getting a defamation claim dismissed against the former television news anchor.
On Monday, those students participating in the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s First Amendment Clinic had their names included on a Motion to Dismiss filed in Maricopa County Superior Court as part of Lake’s response to the defamation lawsuit brought by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer in June.
The students argue Richer’s claims must be dismissed under Arizona Revised Statute 12-751, formally known as Arizona’s Strategic Action Against Public Participation statute and more commonly referred to as the state’s Anti-SLAPP law.
They further argue that Richer cannot satisfy his burden under the law to show his lawsuit “was not motivated to deter, retaliate against, and/or prevent Defendants’ lawful exercise of their free speech rights.”
“The sole issue in this case is whether a political candidate should have a judgment entered against her for comments about a public official regarding an election, a matter of significant public concern,” the motion argues, noting the Arizona Legislature passed ARS 12-751 to make it easier to dismiss suits that directly interfere with a speaker’s constitutional rights.
Since 2018, ASU’s First Amendment Clinic gives students experience in many aspects of a First Amendment and media law practice. In the past, students have defended libel and invasion-of-privacy suits, argued to unseal court records, fought to make state and federal agencies release documents, and advocated for changes in government policies.
The Clinic’s involvement in the Richer v. Lake case is all about the law and the First Amendment, and not about political ideology, according to Gregg P. Leslie, the Clinic’s longtime executive director and himself a veteran attorney.
“Arizona has a law that protects free speech, and that’s what we’re defending here,” Leslie said. “Public officials shouldn’t be going to court to punish and silence speakers, even if they hate their speech and allege that it’s untrue.”
The First Amendment Clinic is listed as co-counsel for Lake along with Timothy La Sota and Jennifer Wright. La Sota and Wright also represent the other two defendants – Lake’s official gubernatorial campaign and Save Arizona Fund Inc., an organization Richer alleges Lake controls.
“The political arena is messy, and we have to allow for speech that may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials, as the U.S. Supreme Court has stated,” Leslie added. “People need to allow speech on matters of public concern to be free, even when they strongly disagree with a speaker.”
The opportunity to work with some of Leslie’s students has been a pleasure, Wright told Arizona Daily Independent.
“As ASU Law School alums, Tim and I are excited to be working with ASU faculty and students to protect our First Amendment right to harshly criticize our elected officials,” Wright said.
Richer, himself an attorney, is represented in his legal action by 10 attorneys located across the country. Several of the principal attorneys graduated from Harvard Law School.
While recognizing the serious legal issues at stake, La Sota noted he looks forward to the case shining a bright, positive spotlight on the many talented law students in Arizona.
“It will give me great joy seeing ASU outmatch the Harvard Law School elites that are trying to abuse the judicial system to silence Arizonans,” he said.
According to the motion to dismiss, Richer “certainly has the right to publicly dispute Defendants’ speech.” But ARS 12-751 prevents Richer from bringing forth a lawsuit “in an attempt to punish or silence such speech simply because he disagrees with it,” the motion argues.
In addition, the motion argues a public official like Richer cannot initiate an expensive defamation lawsuit against an individual’s non-criminal speech, even if suing in his personal capacity for comments made about his public competency.
And that is exactly what Richer has done, as evidenced by his public comments about his lawsuit, the motion contends.
“This case presents an important opportunity for the Court to carry out the core purpose of Arizona’s recently amended Anti-SLAPP statute to prevent public officials from using private litigation as a means to punish and prevent speech on political issues that should be considered as part of the open public discourse guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions,” the motion argues.”
“Kari has a right to free speech. Richer’s inability to accept criticism doesn’t supersede the Constitution,” Lake’s team wrote.
REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL
ASU First Amendment on behalf of Kari Lake