Kari Lake campaign denies threatening Maricopa official in leaked phone call
Kari Lake / Gage Skidmore

Audio from a call between Republican Kari Lake's campaign for governor and a lawyer for Maricopa County shows tensions boiling over in the days following the election, which has been called for Democrat Katie Hobbs.

"Hours before Kari Lake was projected to lose her race for Arizona governor, attorneys for her campaign and for the Republican National Committee spoke by phone Monday to a lawyer for Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and more than half the state’s voters," The Washington Post reported. "The Lake representatives posed a series of questions about voting problems on Election Day, nearly a week earlier. Then, toward the end of the phone call, an attorney for the RNC stressed the importance of rapid answers, according to the Maricopa attorney, Tom Liddy, a lifelong Republican who heads the county’s office for civil litigation."

Liddy is the grandson of G. Gordon Liddy of Watergate infamy and had himself worked as deputy counsel for the RNC.

"Liddy recalled that the RNC attorney, whom he and others identified as Benjamin Mehr, told him that there were 'a lot of irate people out there' and that the campaign 'can’t control them.' Liddy said in an interview Friday that he considered those words a threat," the newspaper reported. "On Friday night, a Twitter account associated with Lake’s campaign posted a video of a portion of the call that captures Liddy cursing and raising his voice. The Lake campaign did not respond to a request for the full video, which was taken from inside the GOP’s war room at a Scottsdale resort. County officials said they were blindsided that the conversation had been recorded and then posted publicly with the names of only one side bleeped out."

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Liddy said he reported the call to Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone and County Attorney Rachel Mitchell.

"The tense exchange, between two Republican lawyers, lays bare the internal GOP war over the administration of elections. Nowhere is that feud more ferocious than in Maricopa County, the second-largest voting jurisdiction in the country, which became a focal point of former president Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 loss," the newspaper reported. "The interaction captured on video reveals how intensifying distrust broke into open hostility in the aftermath of the midterm elections. Lake’s campaign has cited problems with printers that plagued voting across Maricopa County to argue that the results should not be certified and that county officials should be thrown out of their jobs."

In the call, video of which was initially uploaded by Jenna Ellis, Liddy tells the RNC lawyer that he used to have the same job.

"Let me tell you something, Ben, it sounds like you’re threatening me," Liddy said.

“I’m definitely not threatening you, and I promise that," Mehr replied.

Liddy then characterized how he viewed Mehr's comments that the campaign can't control Lake's election denying base.

Lake has not conceded the race.

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