Dan Saban, Former Candidate for Sheriff, Dumps Defamation Lawsuit Against Republican Party, Joe Arpaio and SCA


Dan Saban has dropped his lawsuit against the Republican Party, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and various players linked to the shady fund-raising club called the Sheriff's Command Association.

The suit, filed last year in the wake of revelations about the officials behind the SCA, alleged that the former candidate for sheriff's reputation was damaged by a "smear campaign" that made use of SCA-collected money.

Saban sought damages for the scheme, but he and lawyer, Joel Robbins, had the suit dismissed last month so that they could focus on the appeal of Saban's first defamation suit against Arpaio's office. (You can read our extensive coverage of that case by clicking here and here).

Saban tells us today that a decision in that case by the Arizona Court of Appeals is expected in a few weeks.

It was too costly and time-consuming to wage battle on two fronts, Saban says. But we still think he had a good case.

The facts regarding the SCA's involvement are well known to our regular readers: Saban, when running for sheriff in 2004, was zapped by the dirty tricks of Arpaio's right-hand man, Chief Deputy David Hendershott.

At Hendershott's behest, deputies conducted a sham investigation of Saban's adoptive mother, who had called the Sheriff's Office claiming that Saban had raped her when he was 15. (Saban claims he was abused by the woman, who has been treated for mental problems).

Hendershott leaked the dirt to a Channel 15 reporter, and the subsequent media attention helped derail Saban's campaign.

The sheriff's men patiently prepared for the next round -- the 2008 election. Top Sheriff's Office commanders, including Hendershott, donated to the SCA fund starting in 2006. The office's director, Larry Black, asked several wealthy businessmen to contribute to the SCA while they were all on a fishing trip together in Alaska. The businessmen, including local developer Steve Ellman (who's in the news on another front today), wrote huge checks in the following months.

Then another sheriff's official, Captain Joel Fox, donated $105,000 of the SCA money to the Republican Party, refusing to reveal the identities of the individual donors. The Republican Party returned the money, but not before using it to buy anti-Saban TV ads that referred to the 2004 "investigation."

Fox finally revealed the names of the fat-cat donors after he was threatened with a $315,000 fine. He's the subject of an investigation by the state Attorney General's office, which -- rumor has it -- could indict Fox any day now.

At least Fox, who was also named in the second Saban defamation lawsuit, has one less problem to worry about now. 

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