Andrew Thomas and Joe Arpaio dropped their federal racketing case against the Board of Supervisors this morning (March 11). In a very brief filing with the U.S. District Court, they said they dismissed the case without prejudice because the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section agreed to review the charges against the board and other county officials and judges.
Steve Tully, a Republican former House lawmaker who is now representing the board and its members, said he isn’t buying the DOJ explanation. “I think that’s an attempt to save face,” he said. More likely, said Tully, was that Thomas and Arpaio were advised by attorneys to back off. “I assume they knew they were going to lose and have the case dismissed,” Tully said, adding he wasn’t sure what effect, if any, the looming ethics complaint might have played in the decision to drop the lawsuit. Mike Parrish, an attorney representing Maricopa County Superior Court Presiding Judge Barbara Mundell, said the dismissal was not surprising. “I think the U.S. District court was going to dismiss it for them – and award sanctions,” he said, adding that he had been crafting a sanctions motion demanding Thomas and Arpaio pay attorneys fees and a fine to the court. “It was the most frivolous RICO suit I’ve seen in 28 years of practice. There were no facts.”