Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies arrested County Supervisor Don Stapley Monday morning on 93 new felony counts, which they say relate to campaign fraud, including using campaign funds to pay personal bills.Now, I'm not saying that I think that Stapley is innocent here, but the timing of this arrest is rather interesting, since it comes just a few days after Arpaio's first case against Stapley collapsed.
The Sheriff's Office said Monday afternoon all 93 felony allegations relate to fraudulent schemes involving Stapley's mortgage and loan businesses, campaign account fraud, tax return fraud and campaign fraud. The office alleges that Stapley used campaign money to pay personal bills and to pad his personal accounts. The supervisor is also accused of seven misdemeanors.
Also interesting is that this was a "probable cause" arrest, not one based on grand jury indictments.
I'm going to over-generalize a bit here, but aren't these the kind of crimes that generally merit a long, patient investigation capped off with grand jury indictments announced at a splashy press conference with the County Attorney and full color charts and somber pronouncements on the decline of the level of integrity of public officials and such?
By all accounts, the County Attorney's office had nothing to do with today's events or the "investigation" that led up to them. Even though the kind of crimes charged today don't usually fall into the bailiwick of a sheriff's office that by the very nature of its work spends more time and resources on street crime, not white collar crime.
This really reeks of arrogant grandstanding, or raw desperation, or both, on Arpaio's part.
Besides all that, it's sloppy police work.
It could endanger any possible legitimate case against Stapley or the other supes (Yes, I assume they are dirty in some way, if not this one). If this ever gets to a jury, the credibility of the MCSO and its investigation, or lack thereof, will undermine the prosecution's case.
I just wonder how much today's circus is going to cost Maricopa County's taxpayers.
Channel 15 coverage here; Phoenix New Times coverage here and here. Commentary by AZRepublic columnist EJ Montini here. EV Tribune coverage here. Commentary from the blog Mesa Issues here.