Friday, August 13, 2010
The Arizona Republic unpacks the revelations from yesterday's press conference by Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley:
Maricopa County's top prosecutor says sheriff's Chief Deputy David Hendershott and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas obsessively pursued criminal cases against county officials despite a series of legal rebuffs including a rejection by a grand jury. But Hendershott and Thomas say he is skewing the facts for political gain.
Interim County Attorney Rick Romley said grand-jury documents released publicly Thursday show that the Sheriff's Office and Thomas had a single-minded purpose: to prosecute their political enemies.
Hendershott, Arpaio's top deputy, and Thomas still insist the cases are valid. One involves allegations against a judge who disqualified Thomas from an investigation of the court tower under construction in downtown Phoenix. The other involves county officials who spent public money last year to sweep their offices for illegal listening devices.
An independent prosecutor told county prosecutors in June 2009 that they had insufficient evidence crimes had been committed.
Still, they took the case to a grand jury in December, transcripts released by Romley show. That jury voted in March to end consideration of the cases, questioning why the county attorney and sheriff were involved in the cases, given conflicts with county officials.
Again, the law-enforcement agencies pursued their cases, in April taking them to Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores, who refused to review the cases. Finally, they sent the cases to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The new details in documents released Thursday reiterate broad allegations that county officials have made for months: that the Sheriff's Office and Thomas were intent on finding wrongdoing despite their insistence on their innocence.
There's lots more here. It's a complex story, and chilling to anyone who understands prosecutorial abuse.