State Senator Scott Bundgaard resigned from the Senate this afternoon just minutes before he was supposed to testify in front of the Senate Ethics Committee regarding a scuffle he got into with his former girlfriend on the side of a Valley freeway.
Bundgaard's attorney, Andre Merrett, tells New Times that the now-former senator didn't resign because he didn't want to testify, but because it became clear that Bundgaard wasn't going to get a fair shake from the committee.
See the email we received from Merrett below.
As you know, Senator Bundgaard attempted to avoid facing a hearing contaminated with procedural infirmity, bias and prejudice. That effort failed. Senator Bundgaard participated in the hearing hoping against hope to have the opportunity to present his case in a fair and impartial forum. After a day and a half of the hearing, it became clear from the way in which the hearing proceeded and was presided over that the presentation of Senator Bundgaard's case would be pointless. Senator Bundgaard appreciates Senators Biggs' and Yarbrough's efforts to inject fairness into the process.
Bundgaard's attorneys failed earlier this week to get a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to put a halt to the hearing.
Bundgaard and his attorneys argued that the hearing would be unfair to the senator because members of the Ethics Committee have a bias against him -- which, he claims, is evident in comments certain members have made to the media about the February scuffle.
The senator's attorneys argued the committee was "determined to convene a kangaroo court to expel Senator Bundgaard from the Senate."
If that's the case, mission accomplished.
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Senate President Steve Pierce issued the following statement about Bundgaard's resignation:
"Today Senator Scott Bundgaard submitted a letter of resignation from the Arizona State Senate. I accept this resignation. I believe Scott did what was best for himself and for his family, and for the State Senate as well. I appreciate his service to the Arizona State Legislature and respect what I know was a difficult decision for him.
I am hopeful we can put this distraction to rest and start the upcoming legislative session with our full focus on working for the people of this great state."
Bundgaard says he'll discuss his decision to resign with us later today. Check back for updates.