Liberal Republic columnist EJ Montini: Judge gives Thomas exactly what he wants

Thomas loses big time – but wins

by E.J. Montini

Everything about the decision rendered by Judge John Leonardo appears to be a legal smack down of Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

He dismisses charges against Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. He chides Thomas for conflict of interest and for bullying. For using his office to go after political enemies.

Then, at the very end of his ruling, after slamming Thomas for roughly eight pages, he gives the county attorney EXACTLY what he wants.

The judge decides that he will not prevent Thomas from appointing a “new independent prosecutor.”

The judge writes, “The MCA may appoint a special independent prosecutor on the condition that the new prosecutor is not independently subject to disqualification, and that the MCAO and the MCA relinquish total control of the investigation and prosecution of Defendant to the special prosecutor and refrain from any further participation in these matters.”

A few days ago, perhaps sensing that such a ruling might be in the offing, Thomas’s assistant Barnett Lotstein told me that if the judge were to say that Thomas must appoint a special prosecutor that he would be giving Thomas “what we been asking for all along.”

It’s uncertain exactly how such a prosecutor can or would be appointed, given all the conflicts that everyone has. But it seems to suggest that the case hasn’t gone away.

It should. Thomas should drop it. He never should have pursued it in the first place. But doing the right thing hasn’t been much of a priority in the feud between the prosecutor and county supervisors.

Meaning, I guess, that today’s ruling was a complete loss for Thomas’s office … except for the part where they won.

E.J. Montini writes for the Arizona Republic


  1. PHX Conservative says

    This is a huge loss for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. This circus is wasting taxpayers’ money. Thank God Tom Horne is running for AG. I can’t take any more of this.

  2. House of Cards says

    The house has begun to crumble. Thomas will be out of office soon and Joe will shortly follow.

  3. This is the second time Montini said something intelligent. Thomas got exactly what he wanted in the first place. This is a WIN for him. He gets the special prosecutor who will refile the charges.

    Mary Rose has been a pain in the butt since before she got her pain in the butt.

  4. Oh look, tom horne’s recently assembled social media team is finally here. Guys, can you try not to be as obvious as you were a couple of days ago when you got caught in the comments on the republics website for registering brand new accounts that day solely to plug horne?

  5. Stephen Kohut says

    Pinal is ranked the sixth most corrupt county in the country. The Maricopa BOS is giving Pinal a run for their money in the ranking. Grand juries indict not the county attorney. The indictments against the Maricopa SUpervisors need to be prosecuted.

  6. Come on Sups you can do better. We aren’t going to let Pinal beat us out. We can be number one and the Maricopa County Board with David Smith at the helm will get us there.

    Worst run County in America. (even South and central I’ll bet)

  7. Once again the judiciary steps into protect a corrupt politician from a jury of real people…

  8. Come on people, let us for once be honest about the event that just occurred. Thomas lost this big time. In no way did he “win” or come away with anything positive.
    The one positive thing he’s trying to spin isn’t even the whole truth. He claims they got everything they wanted because they could appoint a special prosecutor. But he can’t appoint the prosecutor he wanted to and can’t participate in ANY of the procedures.

    I guess if you get get kicked off the team and can’t play anymore, you can say you won if you get to take the basketball home.

    This biggest loss for Thomas was all of the following.

    Thomas made “efforts to retaliate against” the board of supervisors,

    Thomas attempted to “gain political advantage by prosecuting those who oppose him politically,”

    Thomas had a “political alliance with the Maricopa County Sheriff who misused the power of his office to target” the board of supervisors. And finally,

    Thomas had a duty provide “confidential, uncompromised legal advice” to the supervisors, creating a real conflict of interest.

  9. Stephen Kohut says

    Thomas gets the special prosecuter he wanted from the get go and was denied. Game, set and match Andy. He gets the person appointed and is then clear to run for AG. The rest is hot air.

  10. Look, first Thomas filed a motion to keep from testifying and, when it was denied, had his flack claim that he was anxious to tell his side of the story. Well, he told his side of the story and lost big time. Custer had a better day.

    Thomas claims all along he just wanted a special prosecutor. If so, why didn’t he do that in the first place? The judge didn’t order the County to appoint a special prosecutor; all he said is that a special prosecutor is the only option left now because of Thomas’ conduct. Yes, I know Thomas wanted to hire those two political hacks our of Washingtong DC, but there’s a huge difference now. Thomas wanted to supervise the two from DC. He wanted control over them like he had control over Dennis Wilenchick. Judge Leonardo said no dice. Can’t do that. Thomas has to stay completely out.

    If Andy’s only goal was a truly independent prosecutor from the beginning, he had one in Sheila Polk and could have had one anytime he wanted. The only caveat, was, and always has been, that he has to stay out of the case. Before yesterday, he was never willing to do that.

    No question. This loss could not be any bigger and the MCAO statement is just lipstick on a pig.

  11. All this nonsense has its roots in the decision of the B.O.S. (probably at the behest of the CofC through Tom Irvine) to withhold funds the legislature allocated to the Sheriff’s Office to enforce immigration law!

    All the spinning by the Glick, House of Cards, Sean and Phx quasi-Conservative and other banana dervishes is little more than sour grapes!

    Hopefully they’ll follow their B.O.S. patrons into a long deserved exile!

  12. poor montini, he lives in the best country but has no gratitude.
    He wants us to become mexico

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