Maricopa County Craziness

Andy Kunasek: Andrew Thomas' Lackeys Offered Political Deal in Criminal Probe

Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek says in a letter released today that prosecutors working for former County Attorney Andrew Thomas tried to extort a political deal from him in return for dropping a criminal matter.

The letter addressed to "fellow Arizonans," Kunasek explains, is to help people understand the full story behind last month's smear campaign against him by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office.

If you'll recall, Arpaio's chief deputy, David Hendershott, announced publicly that Kunasek was under an active criminal investigation for misue of public funds related to the 2009 sweep of county offices for hidden listening devices. It was a low blow by Hendershott -- and the release of grand jury transcripts last week related to the criminal probe make it clear just how low. What Hendershott didn't tell the media was that a grand jury had already looked at the case -- and rejected it.

But in his letter, Kunasek reveals an even uglier possibility -- that Arpaio and Thomas wanted him to agree to their pick for the new county attorney, and were willing to slap bogus criminal charges on him if he didn't go along.

Scroll down for the letter:



Kunasek Letter 0819

We're still waiting on Kunasek's call this morning, and expect to have more for you on this breaking story later.

UPDATE: We talk to Kunasek, who provides us with part of a transcript with Aubuchon's statements. Click here for the latest.

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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.