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Gallardo files for ethics investigation into Bundgaard case

Sen. Steve Gallardo (left), Sen. Scott Bundgaard (File photos)

Democratic Sen. Steve Gallardo today filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Scott Bundgaard, asking for a full-blown investigation into the February fight the Peoria Republican had with his ex-girlfriend alongside a Valley freeway.

Gallardo submitted the complaint to Republican Sen. Ron Gould, chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee.

Gallardo also urged Bundgaard to resign, arguing that stepping down from the Legislature would spare the institution from the “media circus” that is likely to ensue if the complaint prospered.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Gallardo told the Arizona Capitol Times, adding it would send the wrong signal to domestic violence victims if the Senate didn’t even look into what happened.

Also in a prepared statement, Gallardo said: “When one of our colleagues of whichever party violates the trust placed in us by Arizona citizens it is our duty to hold that person accountable.”

The Democrat filed the complaint less than two weeks after Bundgaard, who was charged with two misdemeanor offenses in connection with the Feb. 25 incident, worked out a deal with city prosecutors to avoid a criminal trial.

Under the plea agreement, Bundgaard pleaded “no contest” to misdemeanor reckless endangerment while the assault charge was dismissed.

Also under the terms of the deal, Bundgaard has one year to attend a “diversion program” or else face five days in jail and 36 months of probation, plus jail costs.

Gallardo said Bundgaard’s “no contest plea” means he violated the law.

Gould earlier said he would entertain a complaint, assuming it’s properly filed, based on violation of state law against Bundgaard.

Bundgaard and his ex-girlfriend Aubry Ballard offered differing accounts of what happened during their infamous freeway fracas on State Route 51. Both emerged from the incident with visible bruising, police said.

Bundgaard maintains he was attacked by his ex, while Ballard says he hit her first.

Nevertheless, Bundgaard walked away a free man, while Ballard was taken to jail. Police said the lawmaker invoked his legislative immunity to avoid going to jail.

Multiple witnesses said Bundgaard was the aggressor during the fight and police said the lawmaker’s version of events was inconsistent with the evidence.

The incident cost Bundgaard his position as Senate Majority Leader.

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