Bill Montgomery Says Pima County Attorney is Stealing His Time in Abortion Hearing at Ninth Circuit Court

Testy, testy!

"I think there's a 'Deputy' in front of your title," Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery tells one of the Pima County Attorney's underlings in an October 31 e-mail.

Montgomery makes the smarty-pants comment in a series of recent, heated e-mails released today in court records from a lawsuit against Arizona's new ban on late-term abortions.

The records were released because Montgomery's trying to deny Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, time to speak as a defendant in the lawsuit before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court on Monday -- even though she is a defendant.

Montgomery filed an emergency motion on Thursday, asking LaWall to be kicked over the plaintiffs' side if she wants to speak.

His problem is that LaWall doesn't support the Arizona law.

LaWall even admits in a response to Montgomery's emergency motion that she agrees in "all substantive ways" with the plaintiffs' position. LaWall, a Democrat, argues that she -- along with Republicans Montgomery and state Attorney General Tom Horne -- are all named as defendants in the lawsuit, so she gets part of the 20 minutes allotted to the defendants.

The plaintiffs -- a group of doctors and women's rights advocates -- get their own 20 minutes before the Ninth Circuit Court panel.

Records show that the squabble began on Wednesday, when Perrera e-mailed Montgomery and Dave Cole, the lawyer handling the defense of Arizona's law for the state.

"What are your thoughts about how to divide the 20 minutes of oral argument time for the defendants?" she asks in an e-mail just before 3 p.m.

Doug Irish of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office shoots back about five minutes later, "So far as I'm concerned, given your brief, you get zero..."

We haven't seen LaWall's brief, but as mentioned, she's solidly against the abortion ban.

"Be that as it may, Barbara is a named defendant and clearly, none of us represents the view of all the Defendants," Perrera tells him.

A half-hour later, Montgomery e-mails Perrera directly, telling her it would not be "fair or reasonable" for the plaintiffs in the case -- a group in which he lumps LaWall -- to get more than their allotted 20 minutes.

They quibble over the matter, and then Montgomery reminds her that he's speaking to a "deputy." She replies that she has the authority to present LaWall's position.

Montgomery fires back: "Which you stated in your reply and there is nothing for you to add at oral argument. Done."

"If that were true there would be no oral argument for any party," Perrera writes at 5:10 p.m.

Apparently, the next thing that happened was that Montgomery prepared his emergency motion.

Montgomery had no comment for New Times on Thursday evening about the e-mail exchange.

With the hearing scheduled for Monday, we imagine it's possible the court will rule on it on Friday.

Someone's coming home from the hearing disappointed, looks like.

Montgomery tried to silence Perrera previously in July, at a U.S. District Court hearing over the lawsuit.

Teilborg ruled on July 20 that the law, which bans most abortions about 18 weeks after fertilization, can take affect. His ruling in the lawsuit led to the current appeal.

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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.