The Arizona Attorney General's Office currently is investigating Scottsdale Lieutenant Mike Stauffer at the directive of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office over last year's jailhouse death of Marty Atencio (the MCSO disputes it's an "investigation," but we got our hands on a recording of a voicemail a special agent from the AG's Office left for Stauffer, which you can hear below).
Stauffer, as you may know, is running against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in this year's election for sheriff -- and, as you also may know, Arpaio's got a bit of a history when it comes to trying to intimidate those who oppose him (the arrests of county supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox, not to mention the arrests of the owners of this publication, for example).
Additionally, Arpaio pal/Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office recently told Stauffer that the County Attorney's Office would no longer prosecute cases he investigates as a member of the Scottsdale Police Department -- a claim the MCAO disputes.
Stauffer tells New Times that the County Attorney's Office told his superiors that something he posted on Facebook about the Fiesta Bowl scandal created a conflict of interest between him and Montgomery, and that cases he's involved with will have to be shipped out to other county attorneys.
Stauffer says that on December 29, he got a call from one of his supervisors saying that the County Attorney's Office would no longer prosecute cases he was involved with unless he removed the post about the Fiesta Bowl scandal -- a case that was handled by the MCAO, but resulted in no prosecutions of politicians involved in the scandal (get all the details here).
"I was questioning that there was no prosecution of the people in the Fiesta Bowl and I said 'could it be because Arpaio's name was on the top of the possible defendants list?'" Stauffer says. "They didn't like that."
Stauffer says he was told that if he removed the post, there wouldn't be a problem -- the County Attorney's Office would prosecute his cases.
Stauffer, however, didn't remove the post.
"I consider it an attempt to intimidate me to get me to no longer speak out," he says. "They're gonna put the people in Scottsdale at risk by not prosecuting cases because of [something I posted on Facebook]."
MCAO spokesman Jerry Cobb calls Stauffer's claim "absolutely false."
As for Attorney General Tom Horne's interest in Stauffer, the Sheriff's Office admits that it asked the AG's office to "contact" Stauffer about his "inside information" about the death of Marty Atencio at one of Arpaio's jails (get all the deatails about Atencio's death here).
Atencio's death was first made public on Stauffer's Facebook page. It turned into an embarrassing media circus for the MCSO, which came on the heels of a Department of Justice report that alleged -- among other things -- that Arpaio was guilty of the worst racial-profiling practices in U.S. history.
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The MCSO says it wants to know where Stauffer got the information about Atencio.
"I'm not gonna give any information to a guy who has a reputation for retaliation and intimidation (Arpaio)," Stauffer says. "[The AG] can come and interview me if he likes. I have no information -- my campaign received information from an anonymous source inside the Sheriff's Office, and had we not gotten that [information], I'm not so sure that the Atencio incident ever would have gotten out."
Listen to a voicemail Stauffer received from the AG's office below.
AZ Attorney General's Office investigating Mike Stauffer on behalf of MCSO