The long-awaited report on the so-called Munnell Memo investigation is complete, but public release of the findings will have to wait, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office says.
The PCSO feels that releasing the report immediately may be prohibited by law, said Sheriff Paul Babeu's spokesman, Tim Gaffney, who's working on a news release that more fully explains the situation.
Gaffney spoke to us before putting out his news release because Channel 5 news (KPHO-TV) published an online article this afternoon about the report's completion. We'll update this post later with Gaffney's release.
The six-month-long probe into Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio's top people began after a memo outlining numerous alleged crimes and unprofessional actions surfaced in September. One important area covered by the memo, written by Deputy Chief Frank Munnell, was the "SCA" campaign-finance scandal. The public learned even more about the scandal last month when the state Attorney General's office turned over a report on its SCA investigation to New Times. See this week's story, "Love Connection," on the report here.
The SCA's key players, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, Deputy Chief Larry Black and Captain Joel Fox, will probably be fired based on the findings in the Munnell Memo report, sources tell Channel 5, according to the article by Melissa Ziedy, "continuous news manager."
That seems like the least that should happen, based on our review of the SCA report from the AG's office. But Arpaio's trusted men face even more potential problems: Current AG Tom Horne turned over the SCA findings to the U.S. Attorney's Office, meaning that the trio's future could include federal indictments.
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In any case, the report on the Munnell Memo, like the one on the SCA scandal, should be another fascinating read for observers of Arpaio's office.
The worm has turned on Arpaio's office, which was once feared for its freewheeling, politically suspicious investigations. When investigators came calling on Arpaio's men for the SCA investigation, some of Arpaio's people -- like Deputy Chief Scott Freeman and spokeswoman Lisa Allen -- gave up damning information about their co-workers. Both the suspects and the johnny-come-lately "whistleblowers" should have given Babeu's investigators even more statements about corruption within their ranks, because the county employees were required to cooperate with what was essentially an internal affairs probe.
Whenever that thing is released, we'll have our reading glasses handy.