A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled on Friday that the Arizona Republican Party and its lawyers must pay more than $18,000 in legal fees related to one of the party’s “groundless” lawsuits challenging President Biden’s win in the state.
According to the Associated Press, Judge John Hanna concluded that the state GOP filed the baseless suit for political reasons while claiming it was meant to protect election integrity, and failed to recognize it had sued the wrong government official.
“The financial award was made under a law that requires judges to assess attorney fees against lawyers or legal parties who bring claims to court without substantial justification or to delay or harass,” the AP reported.
Taxpayers were forced to cover the legal fees to defend the state government last year.
The GOP, which tried to establish a new audit of a sampling of ballots, said the motive behind the suit was to determine whether voting machines were hacked, but Secretary of State Katie Hobbs argued that the legal action was a “delay tactic” to undermine the certification of the election results.
In the ruling, Hanna contended that the GOP “made no serious pre-filing effort to determine the validity of the claims,” and never named Hobbs as the defendant in the suit, instead pressing its claims against county election officials.
As noted by the AP report, no evidence of fraud or hacking of voting machines in the state’s election was found.