Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's Olivia Cortes Will Appear in Court Thursday

Olivia Cortes, the so-called "sham" recall candidate supported by backers of state Senate President Russell Pearce, will appear in Maricopa County Superior Court tomorrow before Judge Edward Burke in a hearing to determine whether she will remain on the November 8 ballot in Legislative District 18.

Both Tom Ryan, the attorney bringing the lawsuit against Cortes and county officials, and Cortes' attorney Anthony Tsontakis have confirmed that Cortes, who has been dodging the press for weeks, will be present.

Tsontakis filed a motion to dismiss with the court today, calling Ryan's lawsuit on behalf of LD 18 voter Mary Lou Boettcher "a legally meaningless action." 

Cortes' counsel argues that the complaint is "moot" because early ballots have already been printed and because Cortes filed to become a candidate before Pearce's main rival, Republican Jerry Lewis.

I'll link to Tsontakis' motion and Ryan's reply, shortly. The irony here is that it took a lawsuit to get Cortes to make a public appearance.

Update 5:50PM: The East Valley Tribune is reporting that Cortes will take part in the Mesa Chamber of Commerce's candidate forum on October 6. Obviously, the pro-Pearce camp is doubling down on Cortes, and will now have to "run" her as a "real" candidate.

Update 8:00PM: You can read Tsontakis' motion to dismiss, here. I called Tsontakis. He declined to answer any questions related to why Cortes has been hiding out from the media, who paid for her signs or hired the company Petition Pros to gather signatures for her, who is paying for his legal services, why Cortes' petition gatherers said her purpose in running is to "dilute" the vote, or why supporters and family members of Senator Pearce have circulated petitions for Cortes.

Asked if Cortes was being paid to run, he at one point said "no comment," then settled on a definite "no." About the allegation that his client may have committed a felony related to election fraud, he asserted she had not and offered as proof the fact that she had not been charged with a crime.

Update 11:35: Channel 12's Brahm Resnik scored an e-mail from political sleaze Constantin Querard sent earlier this year seeking shill candidates to run against Pearce in the recall. Querard claims he was trying to recruit Democrats to run in the recall. Which, of course, is total bull. But, hey, Constantin, keep digging the hole deeper. It's fun to watch ;)

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons