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SPEECH BY ANDREW THOMAS AT PRESS CONFERENCE, APRIL 11, 2012
Arizona continues to have some of the worse corruption in America according to a recent national survey. We recently received a grade of D. After what’s just happened, we deserve an F. The reason is, Arizona after what happened yesterday has become Mexico. People in this community need to understand what happened yesterday when my law license was terminated. Let’s recap. Powerful politicians twice indicted for corruption have gone free. Others who blocked investigations and prosecutions retaliated against law enforcement and demolished county government to protect themselves escaped justice. Insiders who knew how the system works and how to work the system have had a field day. Honest prosecutors have been unjustly smeared and punished. The rule of law is no more in this county. We will never know all the corruption cases that aren’t filed and the criminals that go free because of what’s happened. But the chilling effect on prosecutors is clear: Public safety and clean government inevitably will suffer. They already have.
Look at all the corruption scandals that have happened recently in Arizona while the rule of law has basically been repealed in Maricopa County. We had the U.S. Attorney who resigned in disgrace. We had the criminal chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office plead the Fifth Amendment before Congress. You don’t see 50 front page stories about that. I have never pled the Fifth, I have answered every question under oath I’ve been asked. Tom Horne, people are aware of that investigation that has just begun. We have the firings after the court tower corruption scandal came out. We have the golf tournament scandal, which the Arizona Republic has reported. Now Don Stapley is enmeshed in an FDIC lawsuit which involves some of the original counts we first filed against him.
And consider this, and this is extremely important: In the Fiesta Bowl scandal, not one politician has been charged. They charged all the employees, but not one politician. Not Grant Woods, not Gary Husk, who is a politico. And the reason is the chilling effect of what has happened in the case that came to fruition yesterday. We now have a constitutional crisis as prosecutors and members of the executive branch are being targeted by the judiciary and other branches for blowing the whistle on corruption and misconduct in the judiciary. That is essentially what has happened to me. As county attorney, I took on many powerful special interests and corrupt individuals who retaliated with a witchhunt targeting my law license. Unless we want Arizona to become as corrupt as Mexico, the people of Arizona must take back their government. At this point, only the people of Arizona can make things right.
I will soon announce an effort to seek voter approval for reforms to fight corruption and improve our government. I will have more to say in my forthcoming book as well. I wish to thank the Republican Party and many others for their public support. This fight now shifts to the court of public opinion, a fair court.
FOLLOW-UP RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
The Supervisors fired my first two sets of attorneys, then refused to fully fund my third set. The presiding judge who made the decision to disbar me should have recused himself, since he had ruled against me in a prior matter. It is not that we didn’t have evidence in the racketeering complaint, the judicial panel did not want the believe the evidence because it implicates senior judges and other friends of the Board of Supervisors. The evidence is there according to prominent seasoned lawyers in my office and elsewhere. Robert Driscoll is a prominent lawyer with the Justice Department. I had the senior charging attorney in my office say they committed crimes. I had another senior prosecutor who said so. She said she was joking later on the stand, but I don’t know what kind of person jokes about charging an innocent person with a crime. Those are facts. We had Bob Barr, who is former US Attorney, he thought there was probable cause to charge Judge Donahoe. And a detective from the County Attorney’s Office in a response to a direct question from Judge O’Neill, said that he thought there was probable cause. So Judge O’Neill was impeached by his own question!
I’ve not been contacted by the FBI. Everybody in that room ultimately concluded that there was probable cause to charge Judge Donahoe, and that’s what you do in law enforcement, you discuss whether or not you have charges. So for me to go to law enforcement professionals to decide whether to charge someone with a crime is a conspiracy? Then there are 40,000 conspiracies a year in this county because there are 40,000 felony cases. It’s absurd.
Some of the other county attorneys around the state were embarrassed by what came out. The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office couldn’t find the guts to prosecute these cases.
We’ve reached a point where prosecutors can’t do their job without fear of being second-guessed and having criminal investigations dropped every time you call Washington. As a result of what happened yesterday, our system of justice has been destroyed. There will no longer be candid conversations about the strengths and weaknesses of controversial cases in prosecutors’ offices. You’ll have prosecutors who will be afraid to bring charges against people who can reach out and touch them in courts and the State Bar.
Other men far greater than I have gone to jail in defense of principles they believed in; they would not cowtow to corruption. People like Gandhi, people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., people like Solzhenitsyn, people like Thomas Moore. They stood for something. There are some things worth fighting for. And somebody has to clean up this town. And I’m going to stand firm.
Regarding the perjury charge against me, that is one of the most outrageous assertions. I didn’t even know that level of detail in the case. We have a State Bar and judiciary who are very angry about corruption in their ranks being exposed. Lawyers in the state are afraid of them, so I brought in experts from outside of the state, Bob Barr, Bob Driscoll.
I’ve stated my case. I did my job. A lot of powerful people didn’t like that. And they got even. But the loser is the people of Arizona. And that’s why I’m going back to the people. This is not going to be settled by the Supreme Court of Arizona or any court, it’s going to be settled by the people of Arizona, and I’m going to go to the people of Arizona and seek reforms. Finally we can deal with the corruption in this state.
STATEMENT BY LISA AUBUCHON
My name is Lisa Aubuchon. Unfortunately Judge O’Neill didn’t have the courtesy or respect to learn how to pronounce my name. I will be filing an appeal and a request for stay. I have a lot of clients who have a lot of faith in me and will continue to have faith in me. If you want to look into something, look into process. The Bar took advantage of a simple probable cause determination n the disciplinary process. The disciplinary process was changed effective January 1, 2011. They waited until the new process came into place so that they could skip over the panel of eight people that would have determined probable cause. That will be one of the major issues on appeal. The other issue involves Judge O’Neill. He was the trial judge in the Judge Donahoe case. I appeared in front of Judge O’Neill in Pinal County. I made arguments on the Donahoe matter regarding the conflicts of interest. Judge O’Neill entered stays in that matter. He has no right to hear this case, he should have recused himself. And he was also involved in another matter that remains under seal, hopefully that will come out sometime in the future.
PROFANE PROTESTER CHAD “YELLOW SNOW” SNOW
At the press conference, attorney Chad Snow, who led the recall against Russell Pearce and spends all day online trolling the Phoenix New Times leaving profanity-laded comments about law enforcement, showed up with a handful of scraggly looking protesters and tried to shout down Thomas. He got into an argument with a conservative Latina supporting Thomas and called her a “crazy b***.” When asked why he called her that, he said “Because she is. Teabaggers don’t believe in free speech.” Sounds more like Chad “Yellow Snow” Snow is the one who doesn’t believe in free speech. Doesn’t he have ethical responsibilities as an attorney to treat people with respect?