Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' inept attack-dog prosecutor, Lisa Aubuchon, is now under investigation herself by the new boss at her office, Rick Romley.
Romley, named Friday to succeed Thomas (who stepped down to run for Arizona AG), confirmed today that Aubuchon has been "put on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation," says spokesman Bill FitzGerald.
Aubuchon infamously led the (so far) unsuccessful prosecutions of county supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox, and she also penned the poorly evidenced RICO lawsuit filed against county leaders, lawyers, and judges last year by Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
We've given Aubuchon a hard time about that and other cases on which she's failed, so we're hardly opposed to an investigation of her actions. She was the prosecutorial, um, muscle behind Thomas' political hit jobs, excelling at slapping folks with indictments and complaints before getting the evidence.
We'd love to find out, for example, whether the anonymous tips Aubuchon delivered to Arpaio's office about Stapley were tainted by links to Thomas' lawyer.
Romley isn't letting on as to the focus of the investigation yet.
|Rick Romley has put Lisa Aubuchon on investigative leave pending an internal investigation.|
It wouldn't be Maricopa County politics without a potential conflict of interest, though, and it could be argued that Romley has one in this case.
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If you'll recall, Rick Romley was hired by the Board of Supervisors back in 2008 to help in the fight against Thomas. After Thomas and Aubuchon had Stapley indicted by a grand jury, the board stripped Thomas of his civil-litigation duties and hired Romley as counsel for a few months.
Is that a conflict? Could be. On the other hand, it doesn't seem anywhere near as egregious as some of Thomas' conflicts. Last year, a judge ruled in one case that Thomas' conflict had an "appearance of evil."
Aubuchon, apparently at Thomas' behest, later filed a seemingly bogus criminal complaint against the judge who said that, Gary Donahoe.
With luck, Romley's investigation will get to the bottom of Aubuchon's deeds.