Arizona Capitol

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Senator Scott Bundgaard Over Freeway Fight With Ex-Gal-Pal

State Senator Scott Bundgaard probably will avoid jail time for a scuffle he had with his ex-girlfriend earlier this year, but chances are he'll face a Senate ethics probe.

Fellow state Senator Steve Gallardo, a Phoenix Democrat, has filed an ethics complaint against Bundgaard, which should come as a surprise to nobody -- legislators have been discussing putting Bundgaard through the ringer in an ethics investigation for months.

Gallardo's complaint is just that: a complaint. It could potentially (likely) lead to a full investigation of the February 15 freeway fracas.

Ethics proceedings could lead to punishments ranging from reprimand to expulsion.

Bundgaard pleaded no contest earlier this month to a misdemeanor endangerment charge stemming from a February scuffle on the side of a Valley freeway with his now-ex-girlfriend Aubry Ballard.

Initially, Bundgaard was charged with one count each of reckless assault and endangerment for the debacle that resulted in a night in the slammer for Ballard and a shiner for Bundgaard.

Bundgaard faced up to 10 months in jail and $3,250 in fines if convicted of the aforementioned charges. However, thanks to the plea deal, the charges were dismissed, and Bundgaard will avoid any jail time if he completes a diversion program within the next 12 months. If he fails to complete the program, he faces five days in jail and 36 months of probation.

With each side telling a different story, the details of the February 15 brouhaha still are unclear. Bundgaard claims Ballard attacked him in a jealous rage as the two drove home from a charity event, during which Bundgaard competed in a dance competition with another woman.

He claims she started punching him and throwing his clothes out the window as the two were driving on State Route 51. When he stopped to retrieve the clothes he tried to remove Ballard from the car, dragging her along the side of the highway and causing cuts and scrapes to her legs.

Bundgaard also claims Ballard pulled a gun on him, a claim Ballard says is BS.

The yarn about the gun -- Senate sources told New Times at the time -- was the breaking point for many Senate Republicans, who soon enough booted Bundgaard from his position as Senate majority leader.

Bundgaard was not charged the night of the fight because, according to Phoenix police, he invoked legislative immunity -- a claim he disputes. Ballard, on the other hand, was taken into custody at the scene and spent a night in jail.

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James King
Contact: James King