We were amused by Andrew Thomas's pissy little press release last night, in which the Maricopa County Attorney threw a pity party over the fact that nearly half the charges against Supervisor Don Stapley have been thrown out.
Thomas, of course, runs the agency that originally indicted Stapley on 118 criminal counts; when it became clear that not only was the case falling apart, but that he was dogged by accusations of conflict, Thomas kicked the case off to Yavapai County for prosecution.
But as my colleague Ray Stern reported yesterday, the fact that Thomas' office is no longer prosecuting Stapley doesn't mean it's taking a hands-off perspective. Thomas's press release urged the prosecutor on the case to appeal Judge Kenneth Fields' decision.
And it also repeated one very gross error.
"The ruling today also reinforces our office's concerns about the impartiality of Judge Fields," the press release whined. "He was handpicked for this case in violation of the rules of the court, despite having filed a Bar complaint against the Maricopa County Attorney (which was dismissed)."
Thomas originally claimed back in December that Judge Fields was biased against him. Exhibit A? That Bar complaint Fields supposedly filed against him during the New Times debacle.
But Fields did no such thing.
We reported on this in January, and we're going to keep reporting on it as many times as Thomas continues to make this false allegation. FIELDS NEVER FILED A BAR COMPLAINT AGAINST ANDREW THOMAS! He filed one against the special prosecutor appointed by Thomas, Dennis Wilenchik. But his complaint did not touch on whether Thomas erred in appointing Wilenchik as special prosecutor. It merely notified the Bar of reports claiming that, while acting as special prosecutor, Wilenchik attempted to make ex parte contact with the judge presiding over the New Times case.
Yes, we'd like to blame Wilenchik's conduct on Thomas, too. We'd love nothing better than to prove they were in cahoots.
But Thomas has always insisted they were not working together. Wilenchik was acting on his own, Thomas' lawyers insisted time and again. He had nothing to do with the subpoena of all our Internet users. He had nothing to do with our owners' arrests. And he certainly had nothing to do with Wilenchik's ex parte contact.
Those arguments are exactly the ones Thomas used to avoid punishment by the Bar on complaints filed by this newspaper.
So why is Thomas now claiming that a complaint against Wilenchik has anything to do with him? The complaint never even mentioned Andrew Thomas!
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The sad thing is, Thomas' office knows this. Lawyers for Stapley pointed out the truth in December. We followed up with a blog post doing the same thing. Yet we're stuck reading the same lies, again and again.
We're going to say this one more time, and we hope to never have to say it again: Andrew Thomas, you are not the same person as Dennis Wilenchik. You may wish you had his money, or his cojones, or something. You may occasionally get confused about your true identity. You may even feel guilt about appointing your ex-boss to so much work at the county trough.
But you are not one and same. When Judge Fields pointed out Wilenchik's behavior, it had nothing to do with you.
So please, stop already! Don't make us write about this again.