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Prosecutors highlight some witnesses’ party affiliations in Bundgaard trial

Victoria Babbitt, one of the passersby on the evening of Sen. Scott Bundgaard's domestic violence incident, was asked to identify herself as a non-affiliated voter. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

The prosecutors in Sen. Scott Bundgaard’s ethics trial asked several of the witnesses to reveal to the ethics committee their political party affiliations, in an effort to defuse any potential claims that the ethics investigation is in any way a partisan attack against Bundgaard, a Peoria Republican.

Richard Maiocco, an off-duty police officer, and his wife Sandy both testified about what they saw as they drove by Bundgaard and his then-girlfriend Aubry Ballard on Feb. 25, 2011. Richard said the 9-1-1 call he made that night was the only time he has ever called 9-1-1 while off duty. At the end of each of their testimonies, he and his wife were also asked to identify themselves as Republicans.

Phoenix police officer Randall Patterson, who said the odor of alcohol coming from Bundgaard filled the cabin of his squad car, was also asked to identify himself as a Republican.

Victoria Babbitt, a 26-year-old passerby who described what she saw as Bundgaard aggressively handling Ballard, was also asked to identify herself as a non-party affiliated voter.

When Phoenix Police Sgt. Robert Rodarme was done describing the injuries he saw on Bundgaard and Ballard and after telling the ethics committee that if not for Bundgaard’s invocation of legislative immunity, Bundgaard would have “absolutely” been arrested, he was asked what his party affiliation was.

“I’m proud to be a Republican,” he said.

Kory Langhofer, the special prosecutor in the case, said he was posing the question to some witnesses because he knew that Bundgaard had already tried to claim that the ethics investigation was politically motivated.

“I don’t think it’s particularly material to the case,” Langhofer said. “It’s just to point out that this has nothing to do with what party Sen. Bundgaard belongs to.”

Langhofer said he knew of only one witness who was registered as a Democrat, but that due to professional implications, he and the witness agreed that party affiliation should be left out of the questioning.

Langhofer said he was not cherry-picking, only that he decided to ask to question to some of the witnesses and not others.

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