Kari Lake is Screwed: The Big Lie Will Cost Her Big

The segment from “Square Off” discusses a defamation lawsuit involving Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carrie Lake. Attorney Tom Ryan explains the complexities of the case, starting with Lake’s failure to respond within the mandated 20 days, leading to a default. A document Lake filed after the default was dismissed as irrelevant. The discussion clarifies that a default in civil court does not imply guilt but forfeits the defendant’s right to contest the issues. Lake’s actions are interpreted as an admission of defamation against Stephen Richard, emphasizing the misuse of free speech. Lake’s intention to force Richard’s lawyer into a defensive stance in the damages phase is debunked, highlighting her loss of legal leverage including discovery rights. This stage now focuses on determining the extent of Richard’s reputational damage, potential death threats, and the pursuit of punitive damages due to Lake’s admitted malice. The lawsuit’s progression through the legal system and its implications on Lake’s political and legal standing are critically examined, hinting at a prolonged legal battle that could have severe financial ramifications.


Welcome back to Square Off. Last January, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carrie Lake declared she’s always been truthful in everything she’s said about this rigged election. Last week, Lake’s legal maneuver in a defamation lawsuit tells us she hasn’t been truthful and apparently she knows it. Joining us is attorney Tom Ryan. He has been involved in high-profile cases involving elected officials, but Tom’s here today because he’s very good at explaining the law in particular, the unusual motion Carrie Lake’s lawyers made last week in that defamation lawsuit. Welcome back to Square Off. Good to see you again. Good to see you. Start at the beginning because a lot of folks were confused, especially journalists, about what this default judgment was that she was seeking in this motion. She’s seeking it but she’s not entitled to what she’s asking for. Here’s what happened. The case went all the way up to the Arizona Supreme Court. We won’t get into the complexities of it all. It came back. She had 20 days to file an answer. She failed to do so. She defaulted. Anything she files after the default on Monday, March 25th, is a nullity. This document that she filed on Tuesday after she’s lost her right to answer, it’s gobbledygook. It’s nonsense. It says all sorts of things that are simply not true. This is civil court, not criminal, so she’s not guilty of anything. Correct. What does a default mean? Excellent question. When a party defaults, when a plaintiff sues a defendant and the defendant fails to answer, they default. That means they don’t get to file an answer. They don’t get to contest the issues. In fact, the court was very clear about it in this particular case. He put in a footnote, it is worth noting, pursuant to well-established Arizona law, a defaulted party loses all rights to try the merits of the cause of action and then cited relevant Arizona law. She’s done. Is it a concession that she defamed Stephen Richard? Absolutely. It’s a confession that she defamed Stephen Richard. She said the things that she said. She did it with intent and she did it, most importantly, with malice. With malice. Explain why that’s important because we’ve heard the First Amendment defense, political speech. You can say all kinds of things. There’s a lot of latitude. How does the First Amendment play into this case, if at all? It does play into this case. The First Amendment allows for free speech. What the First Amendment does not allow for is defamation, slander, libel, those kinds of things. In this particular case, one of the things Mr. Richard had to prove was not just intent to say something bad about him, but that there was malice and that it was fraudulent, that it was false. She did that in spades. Sadly, after she defaulted, she’s been on the air and in writing and on social media again saying, I meant to say the things I said. They were true. I’m just trying to cut to the chase. You picked it up right where I was going. She said, quote, we’re cutting to the chase, forcing Stephen Richard’s lawyer to make his arguments for damages against Lake for having defamed him. In other words, now putting him on the defensive. Is that how the next phase of the trial, the case, is going to work? Not to get too technical, but absolutely not. It will not work that way. She will not get discovery. She will not get disclosure. All the kinds of tools lawyers have to go and figure out what’s going on in the other side’s case, she’s lost. Now the only thing that happens is Richard’s team gets to determine damages. That means they’re the ones with the discovery. For example, they’ve got to find out, who did you send these to? Who did your team send these to? They want to know how far you disseminated this. So they’re the ones that get discovery. She does not. And they can get her emails as well to find out. Absolutely. And text messages. Yes, sir. Absolutely. They get all of that. So Judge Jay Edelman, who initially dismissed the case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court. No, he didn’t dismiss it, but go ahead. He didn’t dismiss it. She appealed. Yes. She appealed. Thank you for that. Last week it returned back to his court. What does he want to do next? Well, he told them, look, this is a complicated case. Mr. Richard’s entitled to discovery. You’re not Ms. Lake. So I want you all to sit down and determine the scope of the discovery that Mr. Lake’s, excuse me, Mr. Richard’s team gets to take. They’re a very sophisticated set of attorneys that are representing Mr. Richard. It’s not just the local attorney Dan Maynard, who’s a highly regarded First Amendment lawyer and defamation lawyer. It’s a bunch of lawyers from New York and Washington D.C. who’ve been very successful in these kinds of cases so far. So we’re entering the damages phase, which will play out over the next several weeks, perhaps months. Months. Months you think? Yes, sir. Wraps into the primary. Stephen Richard told me he would quote seek millions of dollars in damages. What does he have to do to prove damages? He was, that he was harmed. Well, there’s a lot of it already in his complaint. One of the things that he needs to do is his team needs to put the complaint in the form of a judgment that will frame the discovery that he gets to do. And so one of them is malice and intent. So he’s going to go out and get all of the, showing all of the damage done to him. For example, the death threats. People have actually been convicted of felonies for the death threats that they’ve made against Stephen Richard. His family has been threatened. There is a lot out there about his reputational damage that will put this case well into the millions. Probably tens of millions. What about punitive damages? They’re on the table too because she’s admitted her malice. And malice is, and it’s clear and convincing is the standard. The standard has already been met because she said, yeah, I did it. And she’s still saying that she’s doing it. She’s got the IQ of an empty beer can if she’s going out there and continuing to say these things in the public after she’s admitted, I did all these things. I did them with intent and I did them with malice. Alright, so you think this will go on for quite a few months? Quite a few months. It was a bad strategy legally and a bad strategy politically. Tom Ryan, I have to end it there. Thanks so much for your insights. Thank you.

Kari Lake is Screwed: The Big Lie Will Cost Her Big

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