Valley attorney Mark Goldman must have taken a memory pill since we last talked to him.
In today's testimony during discipline proceedings for former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas,, Goldman described how Thomas assigned him to dig up information about County Supervisor Don Stapley in 2007.
Goldman, a wealthy lawyer who once acted as an aide to Thomas without pay, told independent Bar Counsel James Sudler today he was assigned by Thomas in 2007 to conduct research into Stapley as
part of an investigation (see update below). The county supervisor was under suspicion by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Thomas' office for possible corruption -- a source supposedly tipped off authorities to the idea that Stapley had pressured a judge to hire a lawyer as a planner for the new court tower construction project.
At one of the 2007 meetings of the now-discredited Maricopa Anti-Corruption Enforcement team run by Arpaio and Thomas, Goldman testified a few minutes ago that he brought a notebook that contained print-outs of Stapley's financial-disclosure forms, among other things.
But check out this excerpt from a blog post we wrote in December:
In an e-mail to New Times, Goldman claims he has "no recollection" of handing out material about Stapley at the meetings. He also says he "did not initiate or help to initiate" any investigations at the County Attorney's Office and that he knew "nothing whatsoever" of any investigation of Stapley in 2007.
Goldman, whom Arpaio once treated to a free helicopter flight to a free shooting session at a county gun range, also is good buddies with current County Attorney Bill Montgomery. Goldman held a fundraiser for Montgomery in May.
Goldman's still testifying -- you can catch the proceeding
here. (The link to the live proceeding doesn't work when it's not live, apparently -- click here for the archived videos, including from today's hearing.)
The thrust of Goldman's testimony seems to try to lend support to Thomas' defense. One of the allegations against Thomas is that he ignored a one-year statute of limitations in the attempted prosecution of Stapley for finanancial-disclosure-form discrepancies. If the investigation into the suspected disclosure-form crimes began in early 2007, the statute of limitations would have run out by the time the case was brought before the grand jury in 2008. As you probably know, Stapley was indicted on 118 (later dropped to 117) felony and misdemeanor counts related to the alleged disclosure violations. The case was dropped after Stapley's defense team pointed out that the law requiring the disclosure forms had never been properly adopted by the Board of Supervisors -- in other words, Stapley had broken no laws.
As with the testimony given by Deputy County Attorney Vicki Kratovil last week, Goldman's trying to convince the panel that investigators weren't looking into the financial-disclosure-form problems in early 2007 -- they were checking into other areas of suspected corruption.
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Given that Goldman's now admitted that he passed out info, including Stapley's disclosure forms, at a 2007 MACE meeting, it seems like too much of a coincidence to think that the County Attorney's Office didn't -- in 2007 -- think about a possible prosecution related to the forms.
UPDATE: Goldman just said on the stand that he didn't consider his research on Stapley in 2007 as part of an "investigation."
Uh-huh. Maybe he thought it was just an arts-and-crafts project.
One other thing worth mentioning: Arpaio's former chief deputy, Dave Hendershott, is scheduled to testify at 9 a.m. tomorrow.