Las Vegas Sun

October 6, 2022

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Judge: $88K in sanctions for Nevada GOP primary challenge

RENO — A judge ordered a candidate who lost the Nevada governor primary election to pay $88,000 in sanctions for a lawsuit challenging the results.

Reno attorney Joey Gilbert came in second to GOP governor nominee Joe Lombardo by 26,000 votes in the June primary and argued that he actually won by over 50,000 votes because the June primary results were “mathematically impossible.”

Gilbert’s and Lombardo's campaigns didn’t immediately return emails Thursday seeking comment on the judge's ruling.

Gilbert, who was present outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, had baselessly claimed that the governor’s primary results were faulty. Throughout his campaign, Gilbert had said that courts were “captured by a wealthy group of elites” and that elections were “broken.”

Months after his loss, he has continued to falsely claim that he is the rightful winner of the primary. His team paid for a statewide recount, and filed a lawsuit, where a judge said last month there was “no competent evidence” that he received more votes than Lombardo.

Gilbert filed the challenge of the election on July 15 after the recount, which had nearly identical results to the original count.

“The court finds that Mr. Gilbert’s Contest is a frivolous action that warrants sanctions,” District Court Judge James Wilson wrote in a ruling Wednesday. “Mr. Gilbert did not — and could not — present any admissible evidence to support the case-dependent thesis” that he received more votes than Lombardo.

The court also found that Gilbert’s claim that the results were “mathematically impossible” did not “rise to the level of a well-grounded claim under Nevada law.”

Wilson threw out the case last month.

Under the state’s frivolous lawsuit statute, Wilson also granted Lombardo attorneys' fees. That amount will be announced by a court-set deadline next month, The Nevada Independent reported.