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Ethics panel to meet Tuesday to decide Bundgaard’s fate

Senate Republicans have chosen to keep Sen. Scott Bundgaard as majority leader, despite calls from some for him to step down. Bundgaard, who was involved in a domestic violence incident on Feb., 25 with then-girlfriend Aubrey Ballard, has said his name will be cleared as the "issue works through the process." (Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

The Senate Ethics Committee, which is considering a complaint against Sen. Scott Bundgaard, will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to hold a full-blown inquiry.

Phoenix Democrat Sen. Steve Gallardo filed the ethics complaint last month, alleging Bundgaard violated state law and broke the public trust

when he got into a fight with his then-girlfriend along State Route 51 in February.

Bundgaard and his ex, Aubry Ballard, offered differing accounts of what happened the night of Feb. 25. Both emerged from the incident with visible bruising, police said.

Bundgaard maintained he was attacked by his ex, while Ballard said he hit her first.

Nevertheless, Bundgaard, whom police reports said had claimed legislative immunity, walked away a free man, while Ballard was taken to jail, where she spent the night.

Multiple witnesses, including an off-duty police officer, said Bundgaard was the aggressor and police said Ballard’s version of events closely resembled their account, while the lawmaker’s statements “do not match up as closely, and in some cases do match up at all.”

The Peoria Republican was subsequently charged with two misdemeanor offenses, but he avoided public trial by reaching a deal with prosecutors.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bundgaard pleaded “no contest” to reckless endangerment and agreed to take a year of domestic violence counseling.

His lawyer said the plea would be entered only if he failed to complete his counseling classes, while completion would mean the dismissal of the endangerment charge.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, dropped a misdemeanor assault charge against him.

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