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New independent counsel appointed to Thomas probe

A new independent counsel has been appointed to review unethical conduct allegations against Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch announced March 23 that John Gleason and the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation have been appointed to serve as independent bar counsel in the case. Gleason is director of the office, which is the counterpart to Arizona’s Office of Bar Discipline and investigates alleged unethical conduct by Colorado attorneys.

Berch says “has had no involvement in Maricopa County politics and is therefore free from any perceived bias.”

Arizona attorney J. Scott Rhodes was appointed to serve as independent counsel on March 8. He withdrew nine days later because of objections raised to his appointment and to avoid becoming a distraction to the investigation.

The investigation arises from a court ruling that concluded Thomas had prosecuted a county supervisor for political gain and had a conflict of interest in that case.

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