A former deputy with the Maricopa County Sheriff's hired to shore up operations for Surprise police attended a meeting last year in which bogus charges against a judge were cooked up, an investigative report states.
After the meeting, the Superior Court judge, Gary Donahoe, was charged with bribery and hindering a prosecution. The charges were dropped, and former county attorney Andrew Thomas now faces possible disbarment because of them. Donahoe is suing the county for $4.75 million.
The mess began, according to the investigative report released yesterday by the state Supreme Court, at a meeting on December 8, 2009.
Deputies Brandon Luth, Rich Johnson and Chief Deputy David Hendershott met in the afternoon on that day and discussed how Donahoe would be charged.
Also attending the meeting, the report says, was Terry Young, a former deputy and internal affairs commander who now works as the supervisor for Surprise PD's internal affairs division.
Hendershott reportedly told everyone at the meeting that "Arpaio came up with the idea of charging the judge," the report states.
If that didn't set metaphorical alarm bells ringing in the ears of Young and the others at the meeting, what came next sure should have.
Hendershott reportedly told Luth to copy the probable cause statement for the judge's alleged crimes straight from a judicial complaint letter Hendershott had previously written. (We covered this corrupt detail in a previous article.) According to the investigative report:
Hendershott printed off the complaint and wrote the charges on it. Hendershott told them to describe the "benefit" that Judge Donahoe received for his illegal conduct as the Court Tower. In other words, the bribe Judge Donahoe was receiving was a new court building.
At about 5 p.m., Sgt. Luth took the documents to [Deputy County Attorney Lisa] Aubuchon. She read them. She said that "it worked for her."
The report goes on to state that "Aubuchon knew that no criminal investigation of the alleged charges had occurred and that there was no factual basis for the charges."
The question for Surprise PD, which is paying Young a salary of more than $96,000 a year, is whether Young also knew "there was no factual basis for the charges."
If he attended the whole meeting and was at least halfway awake, it seems like he should have known what Aubuchon allegedly knew: That the Donahoe charge was bogus.
We left a message for Young and Surprise Police Chief Mark Schott at about 5 p.m. today. We'll let you know if we hear back.
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