Maricopa County Craziness

Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon Want Terry Goddard's Testimony Tossed in Stapley Suit

Disbarred former prosecutors Andrew Thomas and Lisa Aubuchon want former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard's testimony tossed from former Maricopa County Supervisor Attorney Don Stapleys lawsuit.

Yes, that lawsuit -- one of the larger pieces of detritus left over from years of county infighting. Stapley, who quit politics last year after a series of scandals that helped bring down former County Attorney Thomas but also damaged the veteran Mesa politician's career, is hoping to claim his piece of a taxpayer-funded feeding frenzy.

(See below for Thomas and Aubuchon's 16-page court motion, and the damning, 15-page report on Thomas and Aubuchon, with 100 pages of attached exhibits, by Terry Goddard.)

See also: - Andrew Thomas and Lisa Aubuchon Slapped by Ninth Circuit; No Immunity in Stapley Suit The ethically bankrupt and fearsome abuse of power by Thomas and Aubuchon have already resulted in large payouts to retired judges and current and former county officials. The county is still trying to appeal a $975,000 settlement awarded to Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, who, like Stapley, was a prime target for the trumped-up criminal charges and bogus federal racketeering suit by Thomas, Aubuchon and former prosecutors Rachel Alexander and Peter Spaw.

Goddard, former Phoenix mayor and son of former Arizona Governor Sam Goddard, is one of the state's most notable Democrats and was a political adversary of Andrew Thomas' long before the county chaos, having beat Thomas in the 2002 election for state attorney general. As this motion covers, the two fought about issues ranging from anti-meth ads to whether Goddard had given a corrupt state treasurer a break in a criminal case. Thomas and his key ally, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, were largely successful in marginalizing Goddard's power in his second term as AG with a fake, perpetually open criminal investigation into the treasurer issue. Goddard lost in his bid to become governor in 2010 against Jan Brewer, but still plays a minor role in state politics since being elected last year to the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.

Now, Thomas and Aubuchon are claiming that Goddard's written testimony in the Stapley lawsuit is biased, irrelevant, and that Goddard lacks specific personal knowledge in key areas concerning allegations against the former prosecutors.

Goddard's report is biased, for sure. But from the point of view of county watch-doggers, it's not irrelevant, and Goddard clearly has some personal knowledge of the Arpaio-Thomas shenanigans that involved him. In any case, we sure wouldn't disagree with Goddard's conclusions, which are stated succinctly in his report.

Goddard writes that Thomas, who's now running for governor, and his accomplices:

* Ignored statutes of limitations;

* Strung together a "very large number of unsustainable charges;"

* Charged what should have been misdemeanors, at best, as felonies;

* Generally ignored traditional prosecution procedures.

"Individually and taken together, the actions of Mr. Thomas and Ms. Aubuchon were reprehensible and do not even approach the lowest standards for prosecutorial integrity," Goddard wrote in his report.

Yet a transcript of a Goddard deposition included in Goddard's attachments reveal that the former mayor has a begrudging admiration for Thomas.

"I have a great deal of respect for his intelligence," Goddard said for the deposition. "I've read a fair amount of his writing. He's certainly good at that."

We'd have to disagree with Goddard there. But Goddard's review of Thomas' written works run counter to the general theme of his opinion of his adversary, whose actions Goddard at one point calls a "sham" and a "fraud."

Thomas and Aubuchon have suffered defeat after defeat, though amazingly, they find continuing political support among some of the state's right-wingers. Aubuchon and Thomas are appealing a six-digit award of sanctions against them for bringing a frivolous lawsuit against Goddard and several county officials. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Thomas and Aubuchon did not have immunity against the charges Stapley raised in his lawsuit.

Goddard's testimony, whether or not it's ruled as admissible in the Stapley lawsuit, stands on its own as further insight into a county scandal that has not quite ended.

Click here for the motion by Thomas and Aubuchon to exclude Terry Goddard's report on them.

Click here for Terry Goddard's report on Thomas and Aubuchon.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.