Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and his surrogates have been doing their darnedest to drag former AG staffer Sarah Beattie through the mud, in an obvious attempt to deflect attention from the mountain of evidence provided by Beattie, showing that Horne has been running his re-election campaign from the AG's Office.
But there's a risk in such ad hominem attacks. First, they do not address the underlying accusation, or the evidence accompanying it. Second, they leave those in your camp open to the same personal scrutiny.
Which is the only reason I'm bothering with a DUI that Horne's legislative liaison Brett Mecum pulled in September 2013, for which he ultimately did 24 hours in Maricopa County Jail.
According to court records, Mecum, who scored a job with the AG in March of last year despite (or maybe because of) a rather tawdry history of public peccadilloes, was stopped by Phoenix Police Officer Florin Bohatir on the morning of Thursday, September 5, 2013, around 2:40 a.m.
The following thumbnail account from Bohatir is included in a request for a search warrant to draw blood from Mecum, which was granted by a Maricopa County superior court commissioner:
Brett was observed stopped on Thomas Road at 32nd Street in the curb lane of traffic West bound. The traffic signal cycled to green and Brett failed to proceed through the green traffic signal until a taxi behind him attracted his attention via horn. Brett then accelerated West on Thomas Road in the curb lane and reached a speed of 51 MPH. The posted speed limit on Thomas Road is 35 MPH.
I stopped Brett and advised him of the reasons he was stopped. I was able to smell the odor of intoxicating liquor coming from his breath, observed his eyes watery and blood shot and heard his speech slurred and mumbled. Brett performed poorly on [field sobriety tests] and I noticed six cues during the [Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus] test.
I'm waiting on a copy of the police report, but according to the Phoenix Police Department, Mecum was cited and released.
The charges against him included speeding, failing to provide proof of insurance, and extreme DUI.
According to the court paperwork, this was Mecum's first DUI.
As part of a deal with the Phoenix city prosecutor, Mecum pleaded guilty to being "impaired to the slightest degree," and was sentenced to the usual assortment of fines and court costs, 12 months of using an Interlock device, and 10 days in jail, with 9 suspended.
The remainder of the charges were dismissed.
The court ordered that Mecum self-surrender at the Maricopa County Buckeye Jail on Friday, February 21 at 9 p.m. for his 24 hours in stir.
The MCSO provided a mugshot of Mecum taken from this brief stay in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's custody.
Something else: the Arizona Supreme Court's public access site shows that Mecum was cited for violation of a "non-criminal ordinance" in April. Its disposition shows "failure to appear." I do not have any info on this item.
When I was pulling the search warrant mentioned above, I noticed an "order for continuing lien" against Mecum filed May 1 of this year.
The lien's paperwork notes a "writ of garnishment" with "amount due" of $8,123.10. The plaintiff in that case is Capital One Bank.
Mecum, 35, makes $70,000 per year.
My colleague Ray Stern has documented at length what he's referred to as "a steady stream of mini-scandals," in which Mecum's been involved.
To borrow from a previous post by Stern, these include:
-- Being arrested in 2009 at state GOP headquarters after doing 109 mph on Valley freeways. Mecum scored a plea deal in that case as well.
-- Receiving a fake blowjob while dressed as Captain America in sleazy pics that surfaced on the website The Dirty.
-- Being referred to as "creepy and intimidating around women" in a 2009 complaint by a woman who alleged Mecum got her address from a state voter registration file and showed up to a party uninvited. Mecum denied the allegations, and no charges were filed.
-- Allegedly offering, along with GOP consultant Constantin Querard, to secure an endorsement from Sheriff Joe Arpaio for Goodyear City Council candidate Jennifer Barber, if Barber ponied up $2,000 for Querard.
Stern wrote, "Mecum never returned our calls on that one, but Querard quipped that Barber must be 'on drugs.' Barber maintains her story is true."
More recently, Mecum has been accused by Beattie of being one of several people in the AG's office, including the AG, who are working on Horne's re-election effort while on state time.
Security cam video shows Mecum delivering a campaign-related complaint on February 11 to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office during a regular workday, with Beattie accompanying him.
The AG's office claimed Mecum had been on his lunch break.
In the exhibits Beattie's provided to the press and to authorities, there are campaign related e-mails from Mecum, and documents Mecum is said to have worked on, allegedly on state time.
The campaign of Horne's primary rival Mark Brnovich has given me numerous screenshots from the software the Brnovich people use to send out mass e-mailed messages to supporters.
Several AG staffers have signed up for these e-mail blasts with their personal e-mail accounts. Time stamps show that Mecum and others opened many of these e-mails, over and over again, during normal working hours.
Asked about such evidence, Mecum insisted to me via Facebook that, "I don't do anything political on state time."
What about the complaint he filed with the SOS? Mecum maintained, "I filed no complaint."
That was before he knew there was a video showing him doing just that.
Obviously, Mecum's alleged campaigning for Horne on the state's dime is of more concern to the public than his various "mini-scandals," including his DUI.
Interestingly, Beattie informed the AG's Office that she had a DUI prior to being hired. And she's been honest about having been a stripper in the past, and to having done cocaine.
None of which invalidates the evidence she's brought to the table, in my opinion.
Recently, I asked Mecum via Facebook if he was one of the individuals attempting to tear down Beattie with a vicious gossip campaign. He referred me to the AG's Office, which, of course, could not comment on the matter.
Mecum has not responded to e-mails and phone calls from me asking him to comment on his DUI or on the financial issue with Capital One.
Granted, none of Mecum's misdeeds quite compare to his boss's mammoth transgressions, beginning with Horne's lifetime trading ban by the SEC, up to Horne's current scandals, and all those in between.
Well, at least none that I know of . . .
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