Tom Horne Caves at Mention of Tom Ryan's Name, Calls off SLAPP Suit (w/Update)
Please see the update at the end of this post.
Yep, Chandler attorney Tom Ryan was rarin' to start writing up subpoenas in his new role as legal counsel for the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, the group being SLAPP-sued by Attorney General Tom Horne in the world's dumbest "defamation" case ever.
But wouldn't you know it, not long after Ryan declared to me that he would take the case off AZPIA lawyer Kory Langhofer's hands and pursue a vigorous defense against Horne for free, the AG calls the suit quits.
Seems the journos at the Arizona Capitol Times' Yellow Sheet have the same info regarding there being a "settlement" in the works.
The YS header reads, "Source: Anti-Horne Group Settles Lawsuit." Though, of course, Horne brought the lawsuit, not AZPIA.
See, the point of the suit was to drain the coffers of AZPIA, to punish the organization for airing the ad, which initially, incorrectly stated that an FBI investigation of Horne was ongoing.
That probe ended a year ago, and AZPIA quickly altered the content of its ad to correct the error.
But as soon as Ryan, the Irish wolfhound of elections law, leapt onto the scene, Horne and his attorney Sandra Slaton knew they were in trouble. Big trouble.
AZPIA's ad, long may it run...
Ryan had offered his services to AZPIA pro bono. Not only would there be no draining of the AZPIA coffers, Ryan is a tireless legal dervish who would have no problemo subpoena-ing, in short order: the AG's cell phone records, his e-mails and text messages and those of his associates, Horne's union suit, Camen Chenal's bathwater, you name it.
Remember what happened back in 2011, when the hottest story around was the recall of then-state Senate President Russell Pearce, and the sham candidate fronted by his friends and family, Olivia Cortes?
In representing a voter in an elections lawsuit, Ryan dragged Cortes and a whole passel of Pearce supporters into court, forcing them to take the stand.
Then, suddenly, when he aimed his subpoenas at pro-Pearce operative Constantin Querard and others, Cortes caved, and withdrew from the race.
Obviously, if she had not, Ryan would have exposed all of the conspirators involved in the scandal.
Same deal here. Horne had to settle, and quickly, before Ryan began doing what he does best, digging up corpses in politicians' backyards.
Neither AZPIA attorney Kory Langhofer nor Ryan wanted to comment But if I'd been on Skype when I phoned him, no doubt Ryan's Cheshire cat grin would have taken up the entire screen.
So allow me to don the hat and cape once worn by Carnac the Magnificent and divine the contents of this "settlement" once it's removed from its mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall's porch and presented to me in a hermetically sealed envelope by the ghost of Ed McMahon:
Horne loses, withdraws his complaint.
AZPIA issues a lame "apology," makes a couple of meaningless concessions and keeps right on running its ads criticizing Horne, while Horne, in turn, oozes back to his cave and resumes grunting out slime by the barrel.
The important work of AZPIA will continue, as indeed it must. Tom Horne remains the sleaziest politician in the Northern Hemisphere -- excepting, perhaps, Toronto's Rob Ford and Utah's John Swallow -- and Arizonans need to be reminded of it, over and over again.
UPDATE 11/25/13 Today AZPIA issued the following statement:
"From November 8, 2013 to November 14, 2013, the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, Inc. broadcasted certain television advertisements stating in part that Tom Horne was then under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). That statement was not true when made; Horne was not under investigation by the FBI when the advertisements were broadcasted. The Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, Inc. apologizes to Horne for the statement."
Told you so. The ads will continue. All Horne got was this measly apology.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.