By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
We are going to attempt to intervene in the Pinal County case. We're going to ask Pinal County Superior Court Judge Robert Carter Olson to unseal the search warrant documents.
And, as it turns out, we might have to fight Dennis Wilenchik to do it.
This ought to be good.
The last time we got crossways with Dennis Wilenchik, it ended very badly — for him.
Regular readers of this newspaper should remember that Sheriff Arpaio pushed to get New Times prosecuted for daring to publish his home address online, even though the address was readily available on the Web to anyone with a passing knowledge of Google.
As my colleague Paul Rubin reported, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas initially turned down the case. Then, a few weeks later, Thomas suddenly declared he had a conflict and shuffled the case off to the Pinal County Attorney.
The county attorney at the time was Robert Carter Olson, the same Robert Carter Olson who is now the presiding judge in Pinal County Superior Court: It was Olson whom Arpaio lobbied to prosecute this newspaper, and Olson who will have to decide whether to unseal the search warrant. Small world, eh?
In his previous entanglement with New Times, though, Olson didn't have much impact: He sat on the case for nearly two years without taking action. It was only after he was appointed to the Superior Court bench, and the new Pinal County Attorney declared a conflict of his own, that Thomas got the case back and made the disastrous appointment of his former boss, Wilenchik, as special prosecutor.
I don't use "disastrous" lightly. Wilenchik is an attack dog and, like many a dog, can be more rabid than cunning. When he demanded information from our Web site that was none of his business, my bosses defied him and published his awful demands. They were hauled off in handcuffs under the cover of night, a misstep that led to Wilenchik's termination as special prosecutor the very next day. We eventually learned, too, that he'd issued grand jury subpoenas on his own, without bothering to convene a grand jury.
Sometimes, though, it feels like a vampire movie around here: The villains never stay dead.
In July, Fox was forced to cough up a list of donors to SCA fund. We learned then that he had a lawyer: Dennis Wilenchik.
In an e-mail to New Times, Wilenchik confirmed that he's representing Fox — but only in terms of getting back the unspecified "stuff" seized by the Attorney General's Office and getting access to the search warrant affidavit.
"The court made an order on that, limiting return thus far to only the immediate parties and not to be released otherwise, so I am not at liberty to [release it]," Wilenchik wrote in an e-mail.
New Times will be filing its motion to intervene this week, says attorney Steve Suskin, asking that the court unseal the search warrant and supporting documentation.
"We believe that an issue of great public concern such as this deserves to be examined and presented to the public so that everyone can understand what has happened in these bizarre, disturbing events," Suskin says.
There's a hearing in the case set for August 31. New Times will attempt to get into court that day and at least make our request to open up the file.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Fox and Wilenchik react. Fox insisted just two weeks ago that he has no secrets, and Wilenchik says he'd release the documents if not for the judge's orders. Surely they won't object to Judge Olson unsealing the search warrant, will they?
We'll keep you posted.