Anthony Tsontakis, attorney for sham recall candidate Olivia Cortes, seems like a smart enough guy, but I'm guessing his eyesight's a little off.

In an op-ed he authored for the Arizona Capitol Times, he decried the lawsuit brought against his client by attorneys Tom Ryan and H. Micheal Wright on behalf of Legislative District 18 voter Mary Lou Boettcher, and claimed victory.

See, Ryan and Wright wanted Judge Edward Burke to strip Cortes' name from the ballot because she's a diversionary candidate and a fraud on the public.

In his October 3 ruling, Burke agreed with the pair that Cortes' candidacy was advanced by loyalists and family members of state Senate President Russell Pearce, and that these Tea Party members strained credulity with their testimony.

But absent any evidence of fraud on Cortes' part, he refused to boot her off the November 8 ballot. This, following a hearing before Burke where various witnesses were queried under oath.

In his op-ed, Tsontakis crowed, referring to Ryan's legal strategy as "repugnant" and even accusing Ryan of making a paid petition circulator cry in court.

Tsontakis writes that when Ryan asked Suzanne Dreher, an employee of the signature-gathering company Petition Pros, whether she knew that running a sham candidate could be considered a class 5 felony under Arizona law, Dreher "broke down in tears."

Thing is, that never happened. I was sitting just a few feet from Dreher in the jury box, along with other members of the press. I didn't see any tears. And certainly Dreher did not "break down."

Instead, she answered Ryan's questions honestly, admitting that she told some folks — including undercover newshounds such as myself — that Cortes' candidacy was meant to "dilute" the vote and help Pearce fend off his main rival, Republican Jerry Lewis.

Giving Tsontakis the benefit of the doubt, a good optometrist may be in order. But his declaration of victory, well, that may require the services of a psychiatrist.

Delusional is the proper term here. Because while these were civil proceedings, the courtroom drama resembled a criminal trial, with Ryan in the role of chief prosecutor, and the jury made up of members of the Fourth Estate.

And the media's verdict? Guilty as charged. Even reporters from conservative outlets such as KFYI 550 AM were rolling their eyes as Tea Party member after Tea Party member admitted that they were each fierce Pearce partisans and yet backed Cortes' candidacy to the hilt.

None of them was sincere enough to admit that he or she wanted Cortes in the race to help the embattled Senate president. In that sense, they were not as forthcoming as Dreher, who testified that her boss, Petition Pros owner Diane Burns, coached her in how to solicit signatures nominating Cortes from pro-Pearce Mesans.

But Franklin Bruce Ross, the Tea Party member who was the plaintiff in Pearce's failed attempt to stop the recall from happening, probably came the closest to confessing. He said he and fellow Tea Partiers were angered that Lewis was on the ballot, believing he should have waited 'til the next Republican primary to run, instead of taking advantage of the recall.

"We put [Cortes] on the ballot because of that," he told the court.

Indeed, the judge's ruling — and that he will allow another evidentiary hearing with still more witnesses subpoenaed from the Pearce camp to testify — belie Tsontakis' claim that he's won some great legal battle.

Though the judge believed Cortes was genuinely clueless about nearly every aspect of her campaign, he did not find the testimony of Greg Western, chairman of the East Valley Tea Party and Cortes' main volunteer, to be at all credible.

"Cortes was persuaded to sign her Political Committee Statement of Organization and run for the Senate by Western, a Pearce supporter," the judge concluded.

Without the assistance of Western and his Tea Party cronies, with whom he hatched the Cortes plot at a Mesa Denny's, Cortes' name "would not be on the recall election ballot," the judge stated.

"It is also clear that those who have assisted Cortes have done so to divert votes from Lewis for Pearce's benefit," Burke wrote, later adding, "[Western's] testimony that he has no idea who designed, posted, and paid for campaign signs supporting Cortes or who paid the professional petition circulators is too improbable to believe."

As for Cortes, she came off as an uninformed rube, struggling with such concepts as "intellectual property," ignorant of the origins of the United Farm Workers phrase "Sí, Se Puede" that appears on her mystery signs, and unable to identify a press release issued by her campaign.

In short, Tsontakis' client now is a laughingstock, revealed to the world as bumbling fool, the tool of a Tea Party effort to disenfranchise voters by pawning her off as a real contender for public office.

And Tsontakis lists this in his "win" column? Tsontakis couldn't even score the lawsuit's dismissal, thus allowing Ryan and Wright to come back for yet another bite at the apple in a subsequent hearing.

In last week's column, I characterized Ryan's lawsuit as a "Hail Mary" pass ("Grand Sham," September 29), but one that was necessary to lay bare the conspiracy at hand, the outrageous duplicity of the Tea Party, and the utter scumminess of this whole affair.

The hearing has prompted an inquiry into signage for Cortes by the Arizona Secretary of State, and the City of Mesa now has taken the insulting, cynical, and illegal signs down.

Cortes was forced out of hiding, and the conspirators were made to swear to tell the truth, even if they failed to follow through.

Also, Ryan and Wright's tireless pro bono work has put an acetylene torch to the pants of every lazy journalist in town.

Suddenly, all the news outlets are hot on the trail of Arizona's prince of political sleaze, Constantin Querard, who many believe is the greasy eminence behind Cortes' illegitimate candidacy.

Channel 12 has revealed that Querard, a Pearce operative, was soliciting shill candidates as early as this spring. Channel 15 has shown up on his doorstep, only to have no one answer, like at Cortes' house in weeks past.

If this state had a real attorney general, instead of showboater Tom Horne, Querard would be the subject of an AG probe, as he has been in the not-too-distant past.

But Arizona, on every level, lacks a prosecutor willing to pursue such obvious corruption as what we all saw on display during Ryan and Wright's last evidentiary hearing before Judge Burke.

So Ryan's the best we've got at this point. Reporters can dig, but, sadly, we cannot subpoena witnesses and private records. Even if nothing else is exposed in Burke's courtroom, the Ryan-Wright gambit has been an unmitigated success.

Asked about Tsontakis' fantasies of legal triumph, Ryan, as is the way of the Irish, recounted a joke:

A hen, belonging to one Irish farmer, leapt the fence into another's yard. Ownership of the bird became a matter of dispute. So the first farmer challenged the second to a game of kick-the-groin, with the winner getting the chicken.

The first farmer launched the initial salvo, dropping his neighbor to the ground in writhing pain. When the fellow recovered, he said, "Now it's my turn."

"Nah, keep the damn bird," said the other. "I never wanted it anyway."

Ryan smiled. Tsontakis owns a clucker all right. But Ryan got the pleasure of the first kick.

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34 comments
Dumoudan
Dumoudan

Is this law Racist? Does it specify brown people?Are the people who agree with this law racist?Are those who want this law enforced racist?The law says nothing of little "brown" people but it explains what is illegal entry. It's not very hard to understand. Why is this law "broken"? Why can it be selectively ignored?Illegal alien includes all people who entered illegally, could be Croation, Russian, Chinese, Irish, Canadians and yes even Mexicans. No one single race or people is referenced in the law. Under Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, "Improper Entry by Alien," any citizen of any country other than the United States who:Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact; has committed a federal crime.Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.These people cost Pheonix and surrounding cities hundreds of millions to support the education, health and welfare of these illegal immigrants. A landscape worker paid by cash (no taxes) and his wife (a stay at home mom), have been here for 16 years and had 7 children born in the US. Who do you think paid for her medical bills???

narizona
narizona

My grandmother immigrated from sonora mexico. She first had to learn to speak english have 1000 dollars per person that she brought here. This was in the early 1900's Cortes does not even have the learning english part, wonder what else she's holding back? Uncle Joe check her out,Please~

narizona
narizona

She is not what I consider a hispanic in fact she's an embarrassment to the entire mexican and hispanic community!!

narizona
narizona

She should publicly apologize to the citizens of mesa for making a mockery and trying to play the system with all her lies,I wonder what she was planning to do if she was elected, make tamales for russells family?

Dumoudan
Dumoudan like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sherrif Joe is one of a few law enforcement individuals who understands a simple fact: "illegal immigrant" = an individual who is not in the United States legally. Being that the "illegal immigrant" has broken our (and Barrack Hussien Obwama's) Federal Immigration Laws and entered the United States through illegal means, he / she is subject to a crime and as such, he / she is subject to deportation. Is that difficult to understand?

Jason
Jason

I think we all knew then as we all know now that Cortes is a bumbling idiot. I mean, to pull an MCSO shurf stunt (the whole "I know nothing" episode in Judge Burke's courtroom last week) goes to show that Cortes is as clueless as her promoter, Pearce. The same can be said of her former "campaign" manager, Greg Western.

Pearce has learned really well from his hero and mentor, the Flaccid Fool of MCSO, on how to rig elections. Pearce also has learned to pull the MCSO shurf card when it suits him. His claims that he doesn't know who's behind Olivia's "campaign" are ludicrous.

Pearce has proven how corrupt and mentally sick he truly is. He tried to rig an election, his stances on healthcare, education, the criminal illegals, etc. are atrocious. He failed to extend unemployment insurance for 30,000 people. I could go on, but I think readers get the point.

The smartest thing Cortes has done so far is to drop out of the race. Now, if her hero and mentor Pearce could develop a brain hemisphere along with two brain cells to rub together and do the same, I think Arizona would be a lot better off.

Jerry Lewis for LD18 Senator.

Sir E Us
Sir E Us

Wow! A hispanic female enters a political race and you bigot racists call her a Sham, Bumbling Idiot, and who knows what else. Where is the reports on the failed Parraz instrumenting a recall for a district he does not live in.

Tuchico
Tuchico

That b1t&*%$# is a traitor helping a racist bastard. Who knows how much she is getting paid for. Don't be ignorant. Just because she is Latina " prey to God she is not Mexican" you are defending her. Maybe you are getting paid too.

Jason
Jason

What are you talking about?

Susurro Perforado
Susurro Perforado

You are intellectually dishonest. You know she is a sham candidate, yet you are feigning indignity and making sarcastic claims on racism. By the way, read the court's ruling: "The court finds that Pearce supporters recruited Cortes, a political neophyte, to run in the recall election to siphon Hispanic votes from Lewis to advance Pearce’s recall election bid. The court finds that without the support Cortes has received from Pearce supporters, particularly Western, the chair of the East Valley Tea Party, she would have had no chance of qualifying as a candidate in the recall election or organizing and running any kind of a political campaign." Don't be such a shameless hack.

ScaredOfJoe
ScaredOfJoe

Where to begin with this one?If a hispanic female got on the ballot as a legitimate candidate, that would be cause for celebration. This woman is a tool of Pearce's, plain and simple, and was recruited by Querard on behalf of Pearce to be exactly what she is: a sham. There is no way that can be disputed. As for Parraz, that statement is really grasping. Pearce is senate president, so EVERY Arizonan has a stake in this. The fact that Parraz doesn't live in LD18 has no bearing on his pursuit of a recall. And don't forget, most of Pearce's support has come from "out of state" interests.Try to be a bit more informed before spouting.

Robert Rodriguez
Robert Rodriguez

Is lying in court under oath not a crime anymore? I wonder. If this hearing set for Friday proves that Pearce supporters lied about knowing who paid for petition criculators and campaign signs, will we see crminal charges or at least contempt of court against every individual who took advantage of Olivia Cortes and duped her into this recall election? The poor woman is being made a fool, and she thinks she is helping some cause. Even if Cortes truly believes she is trying to help get the latino voice out there, she really is just a diversion.

Victor
Victor

Lets not poing fingers directly at the Republicans. The Tea Party started out as something new and different, that has turned into a bunch of nuts that think they can cheat their way into office.They are like Germany in the early 30's. A small group using whatever power they can muster to gain control of a larger group.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

The moral bankruptcy of RuSSell Pearce and his Tea Bagger cohort has never been so evident as in this farce. It is quite obvious that Pearce, his family and the East Valley Tea Bagger goobers recruited this poor woman to dilute the vote. LD 18 voters have a clear choice: to reject the insult to their intelligence that Pearce and his backfiring political machine have subjected them to or to continue to support a corrupt coward who claims to be a "patriot" but whose actions reveal him to be a vile hypocrite wrapped in an American flag.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Mike,

How can you "Insult the intelligence" of people who would vote for Pearce in the first place?

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

I'd like to think that everyone is capable of learning from their mistakes...

Laughting at Republicans
Laughting at Republicans

Let's get the stupid and crooked mormons out of our politics. That is why they were ran out of Missouri, politics, stealing chickens and women.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Not women..................GIRLS!

Bobunf
Bobunf

Laughting's Mormon bashing sounds like Pearce.

Laughting, stupid is as stupid does, and you're looking like an example.

Jewel in the desert
Jewel in the desert

Laughting at Republicans....If you're going to make "bash" a group of people at least learn how to spell and use correct grammar first. It's kind of hard to take someone seriously when their own name isn't even spelled correctly. "Laughing" does not have a "t" and they were "run" not "ran" out of Missouri,..Also Mormons has a capital. You might also want to brush up a little on history. I would also watch calling people "stupid" when your own bulb isn't burning so bright.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Here's a little history to brush up on. Joseph Smith founded the MORmON (how's that for capitalization?) cult to provide justification for his lust for little girls. Get your temple undies in a wad over that one.

Are my spelling and grammar acceptable to you?

From now on I will refer to MORmONS as the "Cult of Sklar"

Jack
Jack

follow your own advise. How do you make bash a group of people? or did you mean bash a group of people?you should have looked over your post before identifying yourself as an equal of the posting party. Ignorant as the original comment, you are not burning so bright yourself

Car_del99
Car_del99

another saga of " days of our lies "

Chem Trail Karen
Chem Trail Karen

We never should 've let the Irish into this country or our law schools. This is what happens. If it's not the mormons, it's the Irish Catholics. Report and deport them all. They are all drunks.

Jason
Jason

In terms of mental illness, you fit right up there with Pearce, mbsanchez, Bobby, the MCSO shurf, and a bunch of other miscreants. Do us all a favor and go back to the mental institution from which you escaped.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

And what's wrong with bein' a drunk, I'm askin'? Are ye wantin' to put all the liquor stores out of business during these dark and dreary economic times? Do ye not know then that the only thing worse than a drunken Irishman is a sober one?Lift high your glass then to strong drink, Sinn Fein, potatoes and passage in steerage to America!

Jason
Jason

Irish whiskey, anyone? I'm buying.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Are you SURE you want make that offer on this forum? That could get VERY expensive - especially with Newtimes writers.

santanacashflow
santanacashflow

Idiot.

Bobunf
Bobunf

I believe the right term is probably "satirist".

At least I hope so.

Pit Boss
Pit Boss

Fuck it, let's deport all Christians. Especially the nutty evangelicals. Good post, Karen.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

If we deport all the Christians, who will we use to describe hypocrisy?

Oh yeah, we've still got CONservatives.

Enemy of Evil Bastards
Enemy of Evil Bastards

When's the last time you pulled your head out of your ass? It looks like it might be time for you to do it again. Dumbass teabagging wench!

 
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