The Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced this morning that a criminal complaint has been filed against the Superior Court's criminal division chief, Judge Gary Donahoe (at left).
Michael Scerbo, spokesman for County Attorney Andrew Thomas, stated in a news release that Donahoe is being accused of hindering prosecution and that Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio will hold a news conference at noon.
The announcement came a few short hours before the 1:30 p.m. hearing scheduled by Donahoe concerning a request for court action on Thomas' planned hiring of special prosecutors. But we just got word from the court that the hearing has now been vacated.
Once again, the timing of actions by Thomas and Arpaio is suspicious.
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At yesterday's news conference, Thomas said the scheduled hearing was potentially illegal because it might have required the prosecutor's office to give up grand jury secrets.
Wade Swanson, chief of the county's civil litigation division, told us last night that the hearing was precipitated by notice to the court filed by Tom Irvine, one of the county's outside attorneys -- and one of the alleged co-conspirators in the federal racketeering lawsuit filed last week by Thomas and Arpaio against county officials. We weren't able to get hold of Irvine last night.
Donahoe, who is also at the center of the squabble over a jailed detention officer, is the first judge to be whacked with a criminal complaint by the county lawmen. But we're betting he won't be the last.