Journalists’ Roundtable: Lake trial, Hamadeh trial, other top news

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It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for the journalists’ roundtable where we take a look at the week’s top stories. Joining us to discuss these stories are Bob Christie of Capitol Media Services, Jim Small of the Arizona Mirror and Mary Jo Pitzl of The Arizona Republic and AZCentral.com.

Topics this week include:

  • Kari Lake trial completes closing arguments
  • Abe Hamadeh trial points to past ruling that overturned gubernatorial election
  • Legislature adjourns until June
  • Prop 400
  • Sober Living homes scam

What’s Happening with the Lake Trial?

Bob Christie: “The one surviving part of Kari Lake’s challenge has to do with signatures on early ballot envelopes.”

Lake’s whole argument rests on the fact that the county did not verify that those signatures did indeed come from the voter, according to Christie.

Mary Jo Pizl: “Initially it was that there was no verification, and testimony presented at trial showed that indeed there was a verification process because Kari Lake’s own witnesses testified to the training that they had and the pressure they had to make sure they were checking these signatures properly.”

The judge essentially told Lake that she needed to prove no verification occurred, but practically every witness that testified talked about the apparent verification process.

Jim Small: “Signature verification was happening. I think really what’s an issue is a couple things. A.) they don’t like the outcome of the election, so this whole effort has been to overturn the outcome, but B.) I think they’re trying to really stretch the window of what’s considered verification or what’s considered comparison by arguing that essentially these weren’t in-depth forensic comparisons like the kind you might see for an expert witness in a trial.”

On the surface, it looks like the witnesses that the Lake campaign brought in were actually hurting their campaign. However, there are aiming to argue that signature verification is more than just comparing a signature on two different pieces of paper, Christie said.

Bob Christie, Capitol Media Services; Jim Small, Arizona Mirror; Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic and AZCentral.com

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