Prominent Arizona supporters of Donald Trump's "big lie" of election fraud lost a court lawsuit on Friday and could be stuck paying for the attorneys' fees of their victim.
Arizona U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, along with GOP then-state Reps. Mark Finchem and Anthony Kern, sued Democratic former state Rep. Charlene Fernandez.
At issue was a letter Fernandez and 41 other Democrats in the legislature sent to the Department of Justice urging an investigation into the Republicans' role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"The events of January 6 were not spontaneous, nor were they the random acts of a diffuse handful of unconnected individuals. For weeks prior to the breach, a group of Republican Arizona legislators and legislators-elect publicly advocated for the overthrow of the election results which encouraged precisely the kind of violent conduct that we witnessed," the letter read. "Their own social media posts strongly suggest that Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem and former Representative Anthony Kern were present at the riot in Washington D.C. on January 6 and actively encouraged the mob, both before and during the attack on the Capitol."
“They did all of this in public. What they did outside of plain view we do not yet know. But there is evidence to indicate that Arizona Representatives Mark Finchem, Anthony Kern, Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs encouraged, facilitated, participated and possibly helped plan this anti-democratic insurrection on January 6,” the letter read. “It is vital to any current or future federal investigations, and ultimately to the Arizona public they represent, that we learn what these elected officials knew about this planned insurrection and when they knew it.”
Judge Pro Tem Levi Gunderson tossed the lawsuit on Friday.
"The January 12th letter goes to the heart of free speech and the right to petition [the government in connection with matters of great public concem. Defendant had the 11 right to express her concerns, both as an individual and as a state legislator. Defendant |had the right to petition the government, just as her constituents had the right to petition her," the judge ruled. "Having considered the constitutional considerations at the heart of this case and while assuming the truth of the allegations pled by the Plaintiffs, including all reasonable inferences therefrom, the Court finds that Plaintifs' claims must be dismissed."
JUST IN Judge tosses defamation suit filed by @RepGosar @RealMarkFinchem @anthonykernAZ vs fmr Dem House Leader Charlene Fernandez. She co-signed letter asking DOJ to investigate trio's role in J6 insurrection. Judge could stick trio w atty fees.https://bit.ly/3ksplCh— Brahm Resnik (@Brahm Resnik) 1651275290