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Arizona Supreme Court won't dismiss Stephen Richer's defamation suit against Kari Lake

Stephen Richer Kari Lake
Stephen Richer (left) and Kari Lake.

The Arizona Supreme Court will let Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s defamation case against fellow Republican Kari Lake go to trial.

Richer sued Lake over her repeated, unproven claims that he played a role in sabotaging the 2022 election she lost to Gov. Katie Hobbs. He said false statements made by Lake and her campaign led to violent threats and security concerns for his family. 

Richer asked for damages and wants the court to force Lake to retract the alleged defamatory statements.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jay Adelman denied Lake’s request to dismiss the case last year, finding Lake’s attorneys failed to prove Richer brought the suit for an improper purpose. An Arizona Court of Appeals panel declined to consider her appeal of that decision.

Lake, who is now running for U.S. Senate, appealed the ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court in January. 

The high court issued an order denying the appeal and lifted a stay, which allows the case to proceed to discovery and trial.

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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.