Don Stapley (pictured) was arrested this morning by Maricopa County sheriff's deputies and booked into jail.
What a difference a weekend makes!
On Friday afternoon, it looked like Stapley's legal troubles were all but over. The Yavapai County Attorney's Office had moved to drop all remaining charges against Stapley related to his alleged failure to disclose all of his income on campaign finance disclosure forms.
Yet, as we noted in Friday's blog post, the Sheriff's Office once said it's search of Stapley's office back in February was related to an "ongoing bribery investigation." This looks like another tack in the effort to take down Stapley.
We just reached Paul Charlton, one of Stapley's attorneys, on his mobile phone. As soon as he picked up, the background noise of voices over a speaker-phone gave away his location: He's down at the county jail, waiting for Stapley to go through the booking process.
Charlton says the deputies snatched Stapley in the parking structure near his Maricopa County office. Charlton doesn't yet know why Stapley was arrested.
"We are completely in the dark," Charlton says. "We're waiting to see him."
Then we managed to reach Lisa Allen, spokeswoman for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, on her desk phone:
"I can't talk about it," she says. "[Stapley's] going to court at 2 [p.m.]"
Great -- a Monday-morning mystery.
Whatever Stapley's is alleged to have done now -- and we're not here to claim he's an angel -- the timing of this arrest is questionable.
Friday's announcement was a clear victory for Stapley -- this certainly looks like Arpaio wanted to send Stapley and his supporters a message, namely that he's in control of Stapley's destiny, not the silly, old court system.
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To make this a legitimate arrest, the Sheriff's Office needs to show that it came onto damning information about Stapley in the last few days -- information that forced the office's hand and made the arrest mandatory.
Otherwise, this looks like another one of Arpaio's heavy-handed political power plays.
UPDATE: Sheriff's office reportedly wants Stapley charged with 93 felony counts.