Federal judge wants to investigate criminal charges against Stapley, won’t rubberstamp judgment for him
Judge also looking into real estate dealings of Stapley’s felon business partner Conley Wolfswinkel
Here are some excerpts from the Arizona Republic article:
Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley will have to answer more questions about property deals and criminal charges than he wants to, according to the U.S. District Court judge presiding over his lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
Seven of the cases have been settled for amounts ranging from $75,000 to $975,000. (Payment of the latter to Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox is under dispute.)
Three remain involving retired Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe, because of criminal charges and a racketeering lawsuit filed against him, ostensibly as retaliation for court rulings and to prevent him from holding a court hearing over Thomas’ objections; Stapley, who was indicted twice alleging campaign-fund and disclosure crimes; and businessman Conley Wolfswinkel, whose offices were raided in a failed search for evidence against Stapley.
Stapley’s attorney, Michael Manning, had sought to limit evidence against Stapley to what was known at the time the indictments were filed. The intent is to keep defendants Thomas and Arpaio and their former deputies, Lisa Aubuchon and David Henderschott, from using this trial to try to prove the allegations they could not prove because the indictments were dismissed.
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake granted Manning’s motion but cautioned that certain evidence pertaining to Stapley’s reputation will be allowed at trial.
Among Stapley’s claims are that he was forced to sell certain property to pay his legal bills and that the criminal indictments tarnished his reputation.
But when Stapley faced the defendants’ attorneys in deposition earlier this month, Manning advised him not to answer questions about the property in question, which figured into the criminal charges against him, or about an analysis of the criminal charges done by Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office had asked Flores to re-evaluate the evidence against Stapley. Flores wrote that there was indeed probable cause to charge Stapley with multiple felonies.
Late Friday, Wake ruled that the property was central to the case and that Stapley would have to answer questions.
Wake also ruled that even if Stapley didn’t want to answer questions about Flores’ opinion during the deposition, he would not be able to deny their content at trial. And if Stapley wanted to deny the allegations, he would have to explain why.
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