Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio In Charge, Arizona Attorney General Docs Show

Well, here's some fresh proof that Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's "Munnell memo" report is a complete whitewash, and that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was, is, and always will be in complete control of his agency. While he's still sheriff, that is.

Today Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's office released another doorstop document from the various investigations into the MCSO that were under way before Horne was sworn in. Horne kicked these over to the U.S. Attorney's Office in March. The latest is almost 600 pages long.

Generally, this one deals with the bogus, trumped up investigation and criminal charges against Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley for filing incomplete financial-disclosure forms. Charges that were eventually thrown out of court.

Though Babeu recently told the public that Arpaio was "deceived" by subordinates, such as now-fired Chief Deputy David Hendershott, Arpaio's own words in these docs contradict Babeu's assertion.

According to Yavapai County Prosecutor Sheila Polk, Arpaio attended a meeting with her, Hendershott, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and now-fired Deputy County Attorney Lisa Aubuchon, where the arrest of Stapley on further trumped up charges was discussed.

(It's confusing, but the second round of charges against Stapley was still pending.)

Polk told investigators that she was upset over the arrest because she'd warned the MCSO to hold off on such action. She asked the sheriff's office to remove itself from the case, at which point Arpaio blew his lid.

"I had [probable cause] to arrest [Stapley]," he told her. "No one tells me when I can/cannot arrest. I am not vindictive; I am the only politician in the state w/guts to stand up to powerful Stapley and his gang."

Polk kept detailed notes of her involvement in the case, which she had taken over at the request of Thomas. You can eyeball them and what's not redacted of the rest of the investigation,here.

There were serious problems with the first Stapley case because the statute of limitations had run out on many of the charges. Along those lines, Thomas' hatchet-woman Aubuchon is implicated by MCSO Lieutenant Travis Anglin, who was a supervisor on the MCSO side of MACE, the Maricopa Anti-Corruption Effort.

MACE was the tool Thomas and Arpaio used to go after their political enemies. It's one of the pet projects that Arpaio paid for with that pilfered $100 million from protected funds.

Anglin suggests that Aubuchon informed him that the investigation into Stapley officially began May 14, 2008.

Check this excerpt from a summary of Anglin's interview:


This is more trouble for Aubuchon because the 2010 report from Arizona State Bar investigator John Gleason, which called for the disbarment of both Aubuchon and Thomas, stated that her investigation of Stapley began earlier.

In his report, Gleason wrote:

"Chief Hendershott of the Sheriffs Office asked Sgt. Brandon Luth of the Sheriff's Office to start looking at Stapley in January 2007, but to keep it confidential.

"Aubuchon, if not another deputy county attorney, began in January 2007 to research Stapley on the Internet."

Gleason's report already alleged that Thomas and Aubuchon knew that 44 of the original 118 counts filed against Stapely were too old to prosecute. 

There's a lot more in this latest AG release that is difficult to summarize completely in one blog post. But let's put it this way, Hendershott was doing some scary stuff, talking about seizing government computers, trying to bully Polk into letting him dictate what subpoenas to issue and how to run her grand jury, and offering to fly one of her deputies back and forth from Yavapai County in the MCSO helicopter.

Here's another excerpt. This one from an interview with Polk's Chief Deputy Dennis McGrane, where he explained how he told Polk that "Hendershott was my concern":

There also are damning allegations from MCSO Sergeant Luth, who suggests that Hendershott may have been attempting to obstruct the state AG's investigation into the MCSO.

This passage is from a summary of the Luth interview:

Luth also tells investigators that Arpaio is at the head of the chain of command for both the MCSO's Organized Crime Division and its Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Arpaio's not just in the loop, he's the one spinning things.