Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley filed an amended claim against the county for wrongful prosecution last week while waiting for a decision by the state Court of Appeals on his 2008 criminal prosecution.
Oral arguments in what's known as Stapley One (on account of there being a Stapley Two case) were held on August 24 before three appellate judges. Their decision could come in days or months -- no telling with the Court of Appeals.
The Supervisor's initial claim for $5 million, filed in March, was superceded by an amended claim for $10 million, and now this re-amended claim for the same, higher amount.
The reason for the latest amended claim, as stated by one of Stapley's lawyers, Merwin Grant: "Recently discovered facts have come to light that brazenly demonstrate the continuing pattern and practice of improper, unethical and corrupt acts of intimidation and retaliation by" former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, and Deputy County Attorney Lisa Aubuchon.
And this was before today's fascinating story about David Hendershott's alleged corrupt activities.
See below for the claim.
One of those recently found facts, Grant says in the document, is that Hendershott and Aubuchon withheld important information from a grand jury that heard the Stapley One case. The grand jury ultimately indicted Stapley on more than 100 felony and misdemeanor counts related to his failure to list various business deals on his financial disclosure forms. (Arpaio could have been indicted for the same thing
Grant says the grand jury wasn't told that 44 of the 53 misdemeanor counts against Stapley were unchargeable because they had exceeded the statute of limitations. Aubuchon and Arpaio needed the extra counts for PR value, according to Grant -- they knew the idea of more than 100 counts would sound juicy to the news media.
The revised claim pays homage to the recent release of transcripts by Interim County Attorney Rick Romley that showed Thomas and Arpaio wanted bogus cases pursued even when the cases were rejected by the grand jury. Hendershott's false charge against Supervisor Andrew Kunasek is also mentioned.
Although the credibility of Arpaio, Thomas, Hendershott and Aubuchon has sunk to new depths, the fact remains that Stapley isn't out of the woods. It's possible that the Court of Appeals could reverse last year's decision by Judge Kenneth Fields on Stapley One.
And it's also possible that Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores, who was tossed the files for Stapley Two and the case against Mary Rose Wilcox back in March, could still bring charges.
We wouldn't bet against Stapley at this point in the game, but it's not like Flores' office has been ignoring the cases. Flores assigned them to a special prosecutor, lawyer Dennis McCarthy of Nebraska (and formerly of Gila County).
Since April 6, Flores' office has billed Maricopa County $25,917.50 for work on the cases, documents obtained by New Times show. The largest bill, totalling just over $11,000, was the most recent one -- submitted on August 30 for work completed in July.
The cloud over Stapley's head has cost him big money, Grant says in the claim.
"Lucrative employment offers have been made and subsquently withdrawn because of these egregious allegations and the targeted malicious and vindictive prosecutions," Grant writes. For now, "Don is virtually unable to pay his bills at this time."
Far be it from us to give Stapley financial advice, but perhaps it's time to negotiate more option payments from companies connected to Conley Wolfswinkel. At least until the county jackpot comes through.
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