/ Modified apr 7, 2023 3:44 p.m.

Cochise County officials ordered to pay legal fees

The ruling stems from the case filed against the Board of Supervisors for not certifying the 2022 election on time.

Gavel courts justice hero

The Cochise County Board of Supervisors has been ordered to pay more than $35,000 in legal fees in their case against certifying the 2022 General Election spurred by unfounded claims that the vote tabulation machines are inaccurate.

The order came from Pima County Judge Casey McGinley on Wednesday, requiring the board to pay for the legal fees for the Arizona Secretary of State and the Arizona Alliance of Retired Americans, which together totaled $36,193.64.

Both plaintiffs previously sued the board to certify the election results when Republican Supervisors Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd continued to delay the certification of the 2022 general election, past the state’s November 28 deadline, following unsubstantiated allegations from constituents that the voting machines were rigged.

The two Republican supervisors’ actions triggered a lawsuit from then Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs for missing the state’s deadline to canvass the election results.

Judge McGinley ordered the board to convene and canvass the election results last December. Judd and Democratic Supervisor Ann English voted to canvass and Crosby did not attend or participate in the meeting.

The order did not specify if Crosby and Judd will have to pay the fees individually out of pocket or if the county can cover the cost.

The judge noted that English is made exempt from paying, as “she did not oppose the relief sought by the Plaintiffs,” and also noted that she joined in the request for the court to issue a writ of mandamus to order the board to canvass the election results.

Crosby told AZPM via email that “I haven’t heard from the attorney for the board, but I expect I’ll follow his advice.”

Judd did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The ruling on fees followed continued action in another election-related court case in Cochise County.

This week, the Arizona Attorney General asked for an injunction on the board's agreement with Cochise County Recorder David Stevens to have him act as interim elections director. The court has yet to rule on whether or not to grant that injunction.

The Arizona Attorney General initially filed suit in March over the appointment, stating that the agreement unlawfully increased the county recorder’s power and the board also illegally handed over its statutory duties over elections to the recorder.

The elections director position has been left vacant since Lisa Marra resigned from the position in January, citing harassment and an intolerable work environment, to which her attorney said in a letter that Marra was compelled to resign in order to “protect her health and safety.”

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