A judge this week ordered the Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Kristina Karamo and six others to pay more than $58,000 in legal fees racked up by the Detroit clerk’s office as it fought a lawsuit filed by the party last year claiming — without evidence — that there was wrongdoing in Detroit’s election.
In the Monday order, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny said the October 2022 lawsuit was “rife with speculation, an absence of facts and a lack of understanding of Michigan election statutes and Detroit absentee ballot procedures.”
At the time of the lawsuit, Karamo, who was the lead plaintiff on the case, was running as the Republican nominee for secretary of state. Two weeks after the lawsuit was filed, Karamo lost the election to incumbent Democrat Jocelyn Benson by a double-digit margin. Months later, she was elected as the state GOP chair.
“Plaintiffs merely threw out the allegation of ‘corruption in Detroit’ as the reason for disregarding the Michigan Constitution in this state’s largest city,” Kenny’s order read, according to local reports.
The judge dismissed the lawsuit — which asked the judge to require residents of Detroit to vote in person or obtain their absentee ballots in person at the clerk’s office — the day before the Nov. 8 election, saying that in “over an eight-hour evidentiary hearing, no evidence of election law violations” was revealed.
Kenny retired after the case but later came out of retirement to preside over Detroit City Clerk’s Janice Winfrey’s request for sanctions against those behind the lawsuit.
“We appreciate Judge Kenny’s hard work addressing this frivolous lawsuit, and we are grateful that he returned from retirement to consider our motion for sanctions,” city clerk’s attorney David Fink said Tuesday, according to the Detroit News. “When a baseless lawsuit is filed to interfere with the good work done by Detroit’s City Clerk, there should be consequences.”