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Judge hears from attorneys in Kari Lake election lawsuit

Republican Kari Lake  lost her bid to become Arizona’s governor by about 17,000 votes, but she’s  asking a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to declare her the winner of the election. The judge heard from attorneys on both sides Tuesday in the lawsuit that alleges widespread voter fraud in Arizona.

Kari Lake’s 70-page complaint claims elections officials counted some votes that were cast illegally and denied some Arizonans the right to vote in November. Attorneys for Secretary of State and Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs, as well as attorneys representing Maricopa County elections officials, all plan to file motions to dismiss the case.

Andy Gaona, representing the Secretary of State’s Office, asked the judge keep the case on a short schedule.

“Essentially a one-day hearing should give the plaintiffs the opportunity to make whatever case they believe they have, a case we believe is nonexistent," Gaona said during Tuesday's virtual hearing.

Hobbs is set to be sworn in as governor in early January. Gaona said if the case runs too long, it could interrupt the peaceful transition of power.

But Lake’s attorney, Bryan Blehm, said he’d need more time to work through his arguments.

“This is a pretty significant factual hearing, your honor," Blehm said. 

Judge Peter Thompson said he did have some concerns about timing. He scheduled two hours on Monday for oral arguments for the motions to dismiss and set a two-day hearing schedule for later next week.

There appears to be major interest in the case. Tuesday's hearing was delayed by about half an hour because so many members of the public were trying to log into the virtual courtroom.

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.