Maricopa County Craziness

Andrew Thomas Files Closing Argument in State Bar Discipline Case -- And, No, It Won't Convince You He's Right

Despite starting with a great quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the closing argument released today in the discipline case against former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas isn't a fun read.

The 91-page document filed with the Arizona State Bar, which brought the case against Thomas, trots out the same, tired excuses Thomas has given from the start about how he took legal action against several judges, county officials and local lawyers. Instead of convincing factual accounts of the results of Thomas' inexplicable thought processes, the Bar's disciplinary panel (and now, the public,) gets a lot of questions, cliches and unsupported assertions.

For instance, take a look at pages 75 and 76, which concern the allegation that Thomas improperly, and without any evidence, charged a sitting judge with bribery, obstruction of justice and hindering a prosecution.

Thomas says he relied on two of his senior prosecutors in deciding to move forward with a direct complaint against the now-retired judge, Gary Donahoe. One of those prosecutors, Barbara Marshall, testified that she wasn't serious when she made a comment about charging the judge. Thomas took her seriously because the comment was "undeniably unfunny," the document states. This is logic?

The other senior prosecutor Thomas relied on to make the decision about Donahoe was Lisa Aubuchon, Thomas' co-respondent in the State Bar's disciplinary action.

"Mr. Thomas felt he could rely on her," Thomas' lawyers write in the closing argument. "Was his reliance reasonable? We think so, but more importantly, his reliance in fact occurred."

Right after that, Thomas' lawyers explain how a senior investigator under Thomas told his boss that two other law enforcement officials who had looked at the Donahoe case decided there was no probable cause to seek a charge.

Thomas' lawyers imply that the senior investigator must be lying because he'd previously lied to his boss to avoid working on a related case. Yet several times in the closing argument, Thomas' lawyers appeal to the testimony of the Sheriff's Office's former chief deputy, Dave Hendershott, who was fired by Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a raft of ethical violations.

Click here to read the closing argument.

Aubuchon, after requesting a filing extension, has until Thursday to submit her closing argument.

The proceeding's third co-respondent, Rachel Alexander, also filed her closing argument today. Click here to read Alexander's spin.

The Independent Bar Counsel lawyers acting as prosecutors in this proceeding are scheduled to file their final rebuttal and argument on January 31.

A decision on punishment for Thomas and his two former underlings is expected about a month after that. Thomas and Aubuchon face possible disbarment. The Bar counsel recommended suspension of Alexander's law license.