State Bar of Arizona’s Disciplinary Panel Suspends Law License of Kari Lake’s Attorney Bryan Blehm for Challenging Election Illegalities

Bryan Blehm

The State Bar of Arizona’s (SBA) disciplinary panel, led by Democratic Judge Margaret Downie, suspended the law license of Kari Lake’s attorney Bryan Blehm for 60 days over his efforts to combat election corruption. The order was issued last Friday and the suspension goes into effect on July 7. 

“What they’re going to do is they’re going to sanction the f*** out of me with costs and fees to try to prevent me from practicing law again.” Blehm said in a video posted on X. “That’s what the end result is going to be.” Blehm was disciplined for stating in a pleading that 35,563 ballots were inserted into the 2022 election. The Arizona Supreme Court sanctioned him $2,000 for the statement.

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Arizona Legislature and Runbeck Election Services Reach Election Integrity Agreement, Including 2022 Election Footage

Runbeck Ballot Production

A memorandum of understanding (MAU) between the Arizona Legislature and Runbeck Election Services on Monday, with Representative Alex Kolodin (R-Scottsdale) and Senator Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff) declaring it will significantly strengthen election integrity.

The legislature and Runbeck, which processes the mail-in ballots for Maricopa County, reached four key areas of agreement that include the release of some 2022 election video, and the lawmakers explained in a press release that the MAU marks “the culmination of an extensive examination of the company’s election processes.”

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Kari Lake’s Attorney Bryan Blehm Files Answer to the State Bar of Arizona’s Disciplinary Charges, Addresses Issue Regarding 35,563 Unaccounted for Ballots

Arizona State Bar

The State Bar of Arizona (SBA) is proceeding with two counts against Kari Lake’s attorney Bryan Blehm for referencing in a brief that 35,563 ballots were unaccounted for due to chain of custody problems at Maricopa County’s third-party early ballot processor, Runbeck Election Services, and for criticizing the Arizona judiciary. Representing himself, Blehm filed a 94-page Answer to the SBA’s charges on January 25. 

In Count 1, the SBA accused Blehm of “misleading” the Arizona Supreme Court. The first half of the SBA’s case against Blehm consists of claiming that he lied when he stated in a pleading that both parties in Lake’s election challenge agreed that there was a discrepancy of 35,563 ballots unaccounted for due to chain of custody problems at Runbeck. Blehm asserted in the Lake brief, “The record indisputably reflects at least 35,563 Election Day early ballots, for which there is no record of delivery to Runbeck, were added at Runbeck….” 

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State Bar of Arizona Finds Probable Cause Against Kari Lake’s Three Election Attorneys, Gives Them Opportunity to Admit Guilt

The State Bar of Arizona announced that it found probable cause to pursue disciplinary charges against three attorneys representing Kari Lake in her election-related cases. The attorneys are Bryan Blehm, Kurt Olsen, and Andrew Parker. The charges relate to election lawsuits the three filed for Lake. The Arizona Bar has increasingly come under criticism for targeting conservative attorneys.

Blehm, who is accused by the Arizona Bar of criticizing the Arizona Supreme Court for setting up a disinformation task force, told The Arizona Sun Times, “If the ethical rules can be interpreted such that lawyers must remain silent in the face of unconstitutional conduct by the very courts they serve then I question the validity of those ethical rules and/or the veracity of those interpreting them. We are duty bound as attorneys to defend the Constitution of the United States of America and that is the proper function of the courts. When the courts themselves violate the Constitution somebody must say something because there is nowhere left for the people to turn. When our courts fail us, we are no longer a constitutional republic.”

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Arizona Judge Rules Election Vendor Runbeck Not Subject to Public Records Law, Ignores Precedent Set in Cyber Ninjas Case

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Bradley Astrowsky issued a ruling Friday dismissing a complaint filed by We the People AZ Alliance (WPAA) that requested video surveillance from Runbeck Election Services. Although another judge ruled previously that the private company Cyber Ninjas was subject to public records requests due to conducting a partial audit for the Arizona Senate of the 2020 election, Astrowsky refused to apply the same reasoning to Runbeck, the vendor that processed all of Maricopa County’s mail-in ballots prior to signature verification.

The judge, appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2012, has served on the bench for a little more than a decade. A court insider familiar with Judge Astrowsky’s decisions told The Arizona Sun Times he is well-known as a moderate in legal circles.

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Arizona Supreme Court Declines to Sanction Kari Lake’s Attorneys, Issues Fine

The Arizona Supreme Court declined to award significant sanctions against Kari Lake’s attorneys for contesting the election results of the gubernatorial race. Instead, on Thursday the court ordered $2,000 in sanctions against her attorneys for asserting it was an “undisputed fact” that 35,563 ballots were inserted into the ballot counting process at Runbeck Election Systems. The court declined to award attorneys fees to her opponents.

The Arizona Supreme Court said in its opinion that Lake “repeatedly” asserted in pleadings that 35,563 ballots were “added” or “injected” at Runbeck. “Not only is that allegation strongly disputed by the other parties, this Court concluded and expressly stated that the assertion was unsupported by the record, and nothing in Lake’s Motion for Leave to file a motion for reconsideration provides reason to revisit that issue.”

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Runbeck: Election Firm Involved in Maricopa County’s Alleged Chain-of-Custody Violations

As Republican Kari Lake appeals a legal defeat in her lawsuit challenging certification of her narrow loss in Arizona’s Nov. 8 gubernatorial election, she is alleging that ballot chain-of-custody issues occurred at Runbeck Election Services, a company that municipalities across the country use for outsourcing election operations.

Lake is appealing a ruling against her last month in her suit against former Secretary of State and current Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and Maricopa County election officials demanding the election result be set aside due to alleged failures and misconduct by the county. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson found that Lake failed to meet a legal standard of clear and convincing evidence that intentional misconduct changed the outcome of the election.

In her appeal, which challenges the legal standard applied by the trial court, Lake alleges that Maricopa County’s “massive violations of law and maladministration” included violating Arizona law’s chain-of-custody requirements by not having Election Day dropbox ballots counted at Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) before going to Runbeck.

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State Rep. Sonny Borrelli Files Lawsuit Contesting Maricopa County’s Election Results

Candidates and other interested parties have started filing lawsuits contesting the election results in Arizona, particularly in Maricopa County, where 59 percent of the vote centers were plagued with ballot tabulation problems, causing long lines in heavily Republican areas forcing some voters to leave without voting. One of those lawsuits was filed on Monday by State Senator Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu), challenging the use of AI to verify signatures, which Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has stated is illegal.

Attorneys for the election integrity organization True the Vote drafted the complaint. It asserted, “Maricopa County ran 1.3 million images, on monitors, past the eyes of a few dozen of its Signature Verifiers at such a rapid clip that it was physically impossible for them to verify the Delegated Software’s adjudications about those images reliably.” True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht told The Arizona Sun Times, “Many voters in Mohave County reported concern that their votes were being diluted by events in Maricopa County. We listened, retained counsel, and got to work. This litigation seeks to uncover the source of their concerns. We look forward to seeing it tried in court.”

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Kari Lake Lawsuit Exposes Election Process Complexities in Maricopa County, Reliance on Third-Party Vendor

A lawsuit filed Friday by Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake contesting the results in the November 8, 2022, election in Maricopa County exposes, among other things, the complexities of the process for mail-in and drop-box ballots and the county’s reliance on a third-party vendor for essential election functions.

The 70-page complaint filed by Lake named Democratic gubernatorial opponent Katie Hobbs who is the Secretary of State of Arizona who certified the election in her favor on December 5, as well as Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer as an officer in charge of elections, Maricopa County Director of Elections for Election Day and Emergency Voting Scott Jarrett and the five members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

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Maricopa County Spokesperson Admits 20,000 ‘Late’ Ballots Were Scanned Before Verification; Expert Says Likely a Crime

In an email exchange with The Arizona Sun Times this week, a Maricopa County Recorder’s office spokesperson may have unwittingly admitted that the county mishandled thousands of ballots from the 2020 general election that one watchdog groups says were accepted after the legal deadline.

Megan Gilbertson, the communications director for the Maricopa County Elections Department (MCED) – a department of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office – said that the department processed ballots by scanning them into the tabulating machines at MCED before transferring their custody the next day to Runbeck Election Services, which verifies their legitimacy with signature verification.

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Maricopa County Officials Declare ‘Election Is Over’ as Newly Revealed Records Show 19,000 Ballots Were Counted After 2020 Election Day Deadline

Maricopa County election officials ignored questions Friday about an 11-page report by an election integrity group that say they discovered 20,500 ballots were received by the Maricopa County Recorder’s office — and subsequently counted — after the legal deadline of 7 p.m. on Election Day, November 3, 2020. Only 934 of those ballots, the groups says, were rejected for lateness. Joe Biden was certified the winner of Arizona by 10,457 votes.

The Arizona Sun Times asked the recorder’s office several questions regarding the ballots, including why they had difficulty producing the ballot receipts for months; why the late ballots were tabulated; whether there were really only 934 ballots rejected for being late; and why there were no records indicating whether ballots received the day after the election were transferred to the Maricopa County Treasurer.

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