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AZ Supreme Court pauses Stephen Richer's defamation case against Kari Lake

The Arizona Supreme Court pressed pause on Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s defamation lawsuit against his fellow Republican, Kari Lake.

Richer filed the suit against Lake last summer.  He said Lake made false statements about him and his role in the 2022 election when she was the Republican candidate for governor in Arizona. Richer said those lies led to violent threats and security concerns for his family. 

Lake, who lost her campaign for governor in 2022 and is now running for the U.S. Senate,  asked a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to dismiss the case last year. But Judge Jay Adelman  ruled against the motion in December, finding Lake’s attorneys failed to prove Richer brought the suit for an improper purpose.

Lake appealed that decision,  but an Arizona Court of Appeals Panel declined to consider the request last week.

She then asked the Supreme Court to consider her motion to dismiss the case in a petition for review filed on Monday.

The Supreme Court hasn’t yet said whether it will actually consider Lake’s request.  But it did pause the case briefly to allow Richer’s attorney to file a response to Lake’s petition for review. That response is due on Feb. 6.

Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.