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Kari Lake’s lawyers hit with bar complaints

A legal group seeking to shame and censure election denialism is behind the effort.
Image: Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake takes part in a campaign rally on Oct. 9, 2022 in Mesa, Ariz.
Kari Lake, then a candidate for governor, at a campaign rally in Mesa, Ariz., on Oct. 9.Mario Tama / Getty Images file

A legal group plans to file bar complaints Thursday against four lawyers representing Kari Lake in voter fraud litigation, NBC News has learned.

Lake, a Donald Trump acolyte who has refused to accept that she lost the governor’s race in Arizona last year, campaigned on the voter fraud claims first popularized by the former president. She filed lawsuits before and after the election advancing the claims, despite having no clear evidence of election fraud.

A federal judge has already sanctioned her lawyers for their efforts, but they could face suspensions or even disbarment.

The 65 Project, a group targeting attorneys who advance spurious election fraud claims in court, said it is filing bar complaints in Minnesota and Maryland against attorneys Jesse Kibort, Joseph Pull and Andrew Parker, who are licensed to practice law in Minnesota, and Kurt Olsen, who is licensed in Maryland. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The four lawyers represented Lake and Mark Finchem, then a Republican candidate for secretary of state in Arizona, in a lawsuit first filed in April challenging the use of electronic voting machines. Lake and Finchem claimed the devices could not be trusted.

“This was [a] pre-planned, orchestrated effort to disrupt Arizona’s election even before it began and claim that there was fraud,” said Michael Teter, the managing director of The 65 Project.

Over the last year, The 65 Project has filed dozens of complaints against attorneys — including one against former Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz, who is also listed as an attorney in the Lake suit. The group is a bipartisan nonprofit organization with ties to prominent Democrats; David Brock, a left-wing operative, is an adviser. Teter said the group was named for the number of lawsuits that were filed seeking to overturn the 2020 election.

He said that he hopes the complaints will result in suspensions or disbarment for Lake's attorneys and that the group’s work will continue to deter future election fraud litigation.

“We saw hundreds of election deniers across the country run and lose, and yet very few of them were bringing lawsuits in the aftermath of their losses," he said. "I think that’s partly attributable to our efforts in 2020."

In December, Lake said she had found it difficult to find legal representatives.

“We had attorneys who did walk away because the left is threatening them with their ability to make a living and practice law,” she said. “And some of our attorneys said, ‘Look, I got mouths to feed, I can’t do this case, I don’t want to be sanctioned.’”

She continued: “I got to a point where I said, ‘I’ll take anybody. We’ll take 'Better Call Saul' to come in here.’”