Munnell Memo Investigation Complete, Report Due in a Week or So, Says Spokesman for Sheriff Paul Babeu

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's office has finished an investigation into alleged misconduct by high-ranking Maricopa County Sheriff's Office employees, says a spokesman for Babeu.

Allegations in an internal memo penned by by Deputy Chief Frank Munnell, which surfaced in September, zeroed in on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's chief deputy, David Hendershott, but also mentioned Captain Joel Fox, of SCA infamy, and other colorful characters working for Arpaio. 

The Pinal sheriff's spokesman, Tim Gaffney, wouldn't give us a hint of the findings, saying the public will have to wait until Babeu releases a report on the matter "later next week or the week after." (That's if it's not delayed further by Babeu's predicted "showdown" in the desert.)

Babeu's keeping other secrets for now, too. Investigators interviewed nearly 50 people, Gaffney says -- yet Gaffney won't let on whether Sheriff Joe Arpaio was one them.


Of course, some say Babeu's conclusions won't be worth the months-long wait. Babeu took the case because Arpaio, his political ally, handed it to him.

Maricopa County Supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox, who were indicted following tainted investigations by the offices of Arpaio and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, publicly denounced Babeu's attempt at an investigation. From an East Valley Tribune article at the time:


"If the investigation comes out favorably to Sheriff Arpaio, the investigation will be dismissed as a political whitewash," Wilcox said. "If Mr. Babeu issues a scathing indictment of Mr. Hendershott, it will be seen as an attempt to put the blame on Hendershott and build a wall around the sheriff, protecting him."

Wilcox was recently exonerated of a felony case that Arpaio's dream team cooked up after reading an article in Phoenix Magazine.

Yeah, it's possible that Babeu will simply allow Hendershott to be Arpaio's fall guy, leaving the Maricopa sheriff without obvious dirt on his uniform.

Still, after all those interviews, Babeu's report should at least be entertaining.

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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.