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Home / legislature / Bundgaard says he isn’t above law, apologizes to colleagues over incident

Bundgaard says he isn’t above law, apologizes to colleagues over incident

Scott Bundgaard (File photo)

Scott Bundgaard (File photo)

In an emotional floor speech Monday, Feb. 28, Arizona Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard maintained he did nothing wrong during a physical altercation with his girlfriend on the shoulder of a major freeway on Friday, Feb. 25.

The police booked his girlfriend, Aubry Ballard, on suspicion of one count of assault, but Bundgaard wasn’t charged. He denied that his status as a lawmaker led police to let him off.

In his speech Bundgaard, R-Peoria, pleaded for Ballard’s privacy.

Since the incident, the two have parted ways.

“Anyone is free to question me until they’re exhausted, but please respect her privacy and extend to her the compassion and deference that’s she entitled to,” Bundgaard said.

Bundgaard said he never imagined that a night that began as a charity event ended the way it did. He apologized to colleagues over what happened.

He also rejected any notion that he is above the law. He reiterated what he said in a news release he sent out the day after the incident: He is waiving any legislative immunity. 

Media outlets have reported that because he is a lawmaker in the midst of a legislative session, he was not charged.

After his floor speech, Bundgaard said he disclosed he was a legislator after he was handcuffed even though he was the one who was bleeding.

He told police that if they thought he did something wrong, then they should charge him. But they didn’t, he said.

The Arizona Constitution grants immunity to legislators from arrest during a session, except in cases of treason, felony, and breach of the peace.

“Some have suggested that legislators are above the law. That is simply not the case,” Bundgaard told colleagues on the floor. “Had I done something wrong, the police could have charged me. … They did not charge me for anything.”

The physical altercation occurred on Arizona 51, just south of Cactus Road.

Earlier that night, Bundgaard appeared for the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona’s “Dancing With the Stars” charity event. The majority leader and a partner danced the rumba.

In the statement he issued Saturday, the majority leader said Ballard accused him of “inappropriately touching my dancing partner.” Ballard then threw his clothes and other belonging out of his car on the freeway, he said, adding he stopped to retrieve his belongings.

The statement continued: “As I was doing so my girlfriend yelled that she was going to take my car and moved into the driver’s seat. I immediately returned to the car and asked her to get out. She refused. I had no choice but to pull her from the driver’s seat which resulted in marks on her knees. I had also had no choice but to stop her from punching me and risking highway safety, all of which resulted in a black eye for me and a busted lip.”

According to media reports, police responded to calls of a man pulling a woman out of a vehicle.
Bundgaard said he has never inappropriately touched a woman. Neither was he intoxicated. He flatly denied it was a case of “domestic violence.”

Ballard on Saturday released a statement, saying what happened was the “absolute worst night of my life.”

“This morning and the hours I spent in jail were equally horrible. To go from putting on a beautiful dress for a great date to a fundraiser to ending up on the side of a freeway? I don’t have another tear left to cry,” she said.

“I’m still trying to get my mind around a few things: Scott’s actions, the 17 hours I spent in jail awaiting processing, my bruises, scrapes and soreness and his statements to the media.”

Ballard said she has a lot thinking and praying to do before she decided what to do next.

It seemed as if on Sunday, Bundgaard and Ballard decided to move past what happened, but the two also broke up.

They released a joint statement apologizing for what happened and for taking up law enforcement’s time.

The statement read: “We have cared for each other in the past; we wish the best for each other in the future. Like most relationships, ours has had some ups and downs, but it has always been based on our Christian faith and our respect for one another. With that in mind, we intend to go our separate ways now and put what happened Friday night and Saturday in the past.

“Obviously, we’re both tired and embarrassed. Each of us would like to reclaim some privacy. We hope the media and the public can respect that decision. Thank you for your understanding.”

One comment

  1. This is for the shark media. There’s no more blood in the water. Time to let this one go. Both he and the lady apologized for what happened, time to let it go now. I know that this is world shaking news but could we move on now ?

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