Kari Lake bragged Katie Hobbs would be forced to testify — then her own lawyers pulled the subpoena

Lake bragged Hobbs would not be able to "duck out" of testifying" and that she "will have to take the stand"

Published December 21, 2022 12:36PM (EST)

Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake greets supporters at a campaign rally at the Dream City Church on November 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. ( John Moore/Getty Images)
Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake greets supporters at a campaign rally at the Dream City Church on November 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. ( John Moore/Getty Images)

Failed Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake told her supporters on Tuesday that she was "excited" about an upcoming two-day trial ordered in her lawsuit seeking to overturn her election loss.

Lake confidently added that Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs, the current Democratic secretary of state, would not be able to "duck out" of testifying and that she "will have to take the stand."

However, Lake's legal team on Tuesday withdrew its subpoena to compel Hobbs' testimony in the case. The Secretary of State's Office also confirmed that Hobbs will not be taking the stand.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson threw out eight of the 10 counts in Lake's lawsuit, which alleges intentional election misconduct in the Arizona midterm election, but permitted two to proceed for a short two-day trial.

"Christmas came early yesterday," Lake announced to fans at the conservative Turning Point USA rally in Phoenix. "This is so historic."

Thompson turned down Hobbs' motion to avoid testifying in an order on Monday. Her lawyers proceeded to file an emergency appeal stating that Lake's remaining claims had nothing "whatsoever" to do with Hobbs or "personal knowledge she may have" because they are only focused on the actions of election officials in Maricopa County. Lake's attorneys then withdrew the subpoena.

Despite the fact that Hobbs will not testify, Lake and other election deniers are excited about the short trial. 

"We're taking these bastards to trial," Lake announced to the crowd. "We're really excited. We have an excellent case."

State Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Ariz., a leading conspiracy theorist, was captured on video in the crowd excitedly throwing her hands in the air after Lake announced the judge's decision. 

Hobbs' campaign manager Nicole Demont told The Arizona Republic that "the voters made their choice clear last month, and we're confident the will of the voters will prevail when the contest process ends." She added that the governor-elect is "laser-focused" on preparing for her first days in office. 

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Minutes before the trial began in Arizona, Lake spoke to conservative podcaster Steve Bannon about why the subpoena was withdrawn. 

"Talk to us about you guys' strategy going in here because I think last night a couple of three people might have been surprised that Katie Hobbs is off the hook," Bannon asked. "I know it's part of a grand total strategy to win here."

"We had 18 people we were going to be putting on the stand when we had many counts that we were looking at, um, taking to court," Lake responded. "And the judge kind of narrowed, really narrowed our case to two counts. And so, we have to really prioritize every second of the five hours we have to prove these two counts."

She said that her legal team would be focusing on Maricopa County officials and their testimony.

"As much fun as it would be to put stuttering, stammering panicky Katie Hobbs on the stand, we would have a ball with that," she said. "We believe what we're going to be putting forth today, that any judge across this country would look at this evidence and rule in our favor."

Lake's 70-page lawsuit claims that "hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected" the election. She has requested that the court declare her the rightful winner or order a new election in Arizona. 

In addition to Hobbs, defendants include Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, the five members of the county Board of Supervisors, and Scott Jarrett, county elections director.

The trial is expected to begin on Wednesday morning and continue through to Thursday afternoon. It will be live-streamed through the court's website.

By Samaa Khullar

Samaa Khullar is a former news fellow at Salon with a background in Middle Eastern history and politics. She is a graduate of New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism institute and is pursuing investigative reporting.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregate Elections Kari Lake Katie Hobbs Maricopa County Politics