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Judge sanctions Michigan Republican Party chair for filing frivolous election lawsuit

Kristina Karamo had sought to block Detroit residents from voting by mail in 2022.

By Emily Singer - June 14, 2023
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Kristina Karamo
Former President Donald Trump, left, listens as Michigan Republican Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo speaks during a rally in Warren, Mich., Oct. 1, 2022. On Monday, June 12, 2023, a judge ordered Karamo, the Michigan Republican Party chairperson, and others to pay more than $58,000 in legal fees incurred by the Detroit clerk’s office to fight a lawsuit they filed challenging absentee voting in the city. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP)

A Michigan judge on Tuesday sanctioned state Republican Party Chair Kristina Karamo and ordered her to pay over $58,000 in fines, ruling that she and a handful of other co-plaintiffs had filed a frivolous lawsuit that sought to make it harder for Detroit residents to vote, the Detroit News reported.

Karamo, who at the time was the GOP nominee for secretary of state, filed a lawsuit in October 2022 that sought to block residents of Detroit, and Detroit only, from voting by mail. Had the lawsuit been successful, it would have tossed out tens of thousands of ballots that had already been cast by mail in the majority-Black and heavily Democratic city, the Detroit Free Press reported at the time.

On Nov. 7, 2022, one day before the election, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny threw out the lawsuit, saying Karamo “failed dramatically” to prove why Detroit residents shouldn’t be able to vote by mail, a right guaranteed in Michigan’s Constitution.

“While it is easy to hurl accusations of violations of law and corruption, it is another matter to come forward and produce the evidence our Constitution and laws require,” Kenny said at the time.

That same judge on Tuesday once again condemned Karamo’s lawsuit, saying it was “rife with speculation, an absence of facts and a lack of understanding of Michigan election statutes and Detroit absentee ballot procedures.”

He ultimately ordered Karamo and her co-plaintiffs to pay $58,459 to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and Detroit Department of Elections inspectors to cover the funds the city was forced to use to defend against the lawsuit, the Detroit News reported.

Karamo lost her secretary of state race in a landslide to incumbent Democrat Jocelyn Benson. Benson defeated Karamo 56% to 42%.

Despite losing by such a decisive margin, Karamo refused to concede and continued to push election fraud lies, going as far as to accuse one election clerk in the state of “engaging in mass election crimes.”

Karamo rose to prominence in Michigan Republican politics by making false allegations that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

Following her election loss, Karamo was elected chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

Karamo is the latest Republican to face sanctions for filing baseless election lawsuits.

Former Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani is facing possible disbarment over the lawsuits he filed to try to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss.

Sidney Powell, the conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump supporter who waged a failed campaign to overturn the 2020 election, was sanctioned by U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker for engaging in “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.” Powell had filed a lawsuit to try to overturn Trump’s loss in Michigan.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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