Jarrett Maupin II Pleads Guilty to Lying to Federal Agent; Resignation From School Board Part of Plea Deal

Jarrett Maupin II pleaded guilty today to a felony count of making a false statement to a federal law enforcement agent. Prosecutors are recommending probation for the former candidate for Phoenix mayor; his sentencing is scheduled for late July. U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell has the final word on the young activist's penalty.

A setback for the young activist's image, certainly, but perhaps one he can overcome. After New Times profiled the then-17-year-old Al Sharpton wanna-be in 2005, Maupin's star rose even higher. He wrestled with Phil Gordon for he mayor's seat -- unsuccessfully -- and got himself elected in 2006 to the Phoenix Union High School governing board.

It was the mayor's race that ultimately got Maupin in trouble: He made up a lie to hurt Gordon politically, as he admitted in his plea agreement. 

Maupin resigned abruptly from the non-paying school board position earlier this month, saying he wanted to pursue other opportunities (another lie -- see update below). Two days before, he had signaled his intention in court to plead guilty to his crime.

Oddly, the Arizona Republic has had a virtual news blackout on the latest chapter of Maupin's legal woes, despite reporting in December that he might face federal charges. Following the news of Maupin's school board resignation, the Republic published an article on April 23 about the hunt for Maupin's successor.

School board member Amy Kobeta is sad to see Maupin leave, saying he knows his South Phoenix community well, according to the article. Maupin, who hasn't returned our calls about his criminal case, tells the Republic:

...he hopes his replacement is someone of his generation.

"I want to see whoever replaces me in that position is a young person of color, 18, 19 years old. It's important that we maintain that," said Maupin.

The school board has already whitewashed Maupin's crime, telling the Republic in November that the allegation was Maupin's own business.

Today the Repub has an article about how the board has put together a team to help find the best replacement for Maupin. (And again, no mention of Maupin's guilty plea). The team will submit three nominees to Don Covey, the Maricopa County Superintendent of Public Schools, who will make the choice. The board hopes to find a new member by August.

UPDATE: The Republic just made up for its silence by scooping us on something we missed here. Resigning from the school board was part of Maupin's plea deal. And whoa -- it turns out he also has to pay up to $51,000 in restitution to his victims.


Text of news release by U.S. Attorney's Office follows:


PHOENIX - Jarrett Maupin II, 21, of Phoenix pleaded guilty in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence O. Anderson today to making a false statement to the FBI. A federal indictment in February 2009 alleged that Maupin knowingly and willfully made a false material statement to the FBI. In his plea agreement, Maupin admitted that in September 2008 he falsely informed the FBI that a local elected official engaged in criminal activity in order to hurt the official politically. Maupin fully repudiated the false report as part of his plea agreement.

Sentencing is set for July 27, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell. A conviction for False Statements carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. According to the terms of the plea agreement, the sentence recommended to the Court is probation. In determining an appropriate sentence, Judge Campbell will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the plea agreement.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Rachel Hernandez and Gary Restaino, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


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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.