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Stedino has testified that on their second or third meeting, Bartlett bragged about legislators whose votes on legalized gambling could be bought, and that at some point he specified that Representative Don Kenney could be had" for $1,000. (It is the only specific name of a bribable legislator that Stedino has ever claimed to have heard from Bartlett, and a personal friend of Bartlett's who is now living in San Diego, a printer named Russ Kurtz, claims that it was he who posed it to Stedino and not Bartlett. My comment to him was that I thought Don Kenney was in it for himself, and if anybody could be had, it was Kenney," says Kurtz. Kurtz adds that he has no particular political connections and that he based his evaluation of Kenney on a conversation he and Kenney had once shared at a fund raiser.)

Stedino took these boasts to the County Attorney's Office and was told to discover whether Bartlett could truly deliver. It was arranged that Bartlett would take Stedino to the Arizona State Capitol and introduce him to his influential friends there.

The outing that followed could have been considered a networking success only by someone who was profoundly ignorant of politics, or who was so desperate to take the sting" in a new direction that he was willing to see confirmation anywhere. Out of six or eight politicians whom he tried to see, including Rose Mofford, Bartlett gained access only to Jim Shumway, then- secretary of state who was more of a clerk than a political force, and Senator Alan Stephens. Bartlett and Stedino also ran into Representative Bobby Raymond (later convicted in the sting) in the hall. None of these meetings indicated willingness on anyone's part to accept a bribe.

But Stedino was not discouraged by the frail demonstration of power. Back in the car, within reach of the police force's hidden microphone, he raved to Bartlett about the judge's" influence. I watched you in action. You're fuckin' amazing," he said. I can't believe how these people just come right up to you. You hit that one guy in the stomach. You patted the other one on the ass. Alan Stephens, you hit him in the gut and said, `How you doin?' ... And I liked it when he said to you, `You still on the bench?' I mean, he, he knew who you were. That's what impressed me. You didn't have to ID yourself."

Based on this meeting, Stedino later wrote in a memorandum to the police department: I believe this man has a lot of political connections and that he does know a lot of people in high places and he knows who is dirty and who is clean. I also believe he can reach those who are dirty. ... If this man is telling 10 percent truths, he is talking about major political corruption. ... I believe this man will open doors in AZ politics that will fire the shot heard round the world if we go with him.

I suggest if we go with a plan such as this, we get a place that is nice and convincing and wire it up so I can have Gary bring these people to me and we can document all the meetings."

And that was that. The County Attorney's Office did want Stedino to obtain a resume and letters of reference from Bartlett; it is likely that Bartlett provided the same letters that are attached to his resume today, letters from justices of the peace serving in remote Arizona outposts who have socialized with Bartlett at judicial conferences and found him to be a congenial companion. But it was on the strength of his vague ravings about nameless, but corrupt, legislators, and that fateful visit to the legislature, that the police and prosecutors became willing to mount a million-dollar sting operation with Bartlett and Stedino at its head.

Well, maybe there was one other reason. In an interview with a local reporter, Stedino has admitted that then-Phoenix police chief Ruben Ortega specifically asked him to try to lure Pat Cantelme, president of the firefighters' union, into the sting. And Bartlett himself says now, Over 90 percent of the conversations I had with Stedino were to get introductions to Pat Cantelme and Duane Pell."

part 3 of 4


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Deborah Laake