Attorney General Tom Horne pleaded no contest and paid a $300 fine to settle a misdemeanor traffic charge stemming from an incident in which he backed into another car in a downtown Phoenix parking garage.
The payment of the fine settles the case in which Horne was charged in Phoenix Municipal Court with failure to notify a vehicle’s owner after hitting his car. According to police reports, Horne backed into the car and left the scene without leaving any contact information for the owner.
Horne paid a total of $582, including the $300 fine and a $282 surcharge.
A trial scheduled for May 28 is now canceled.
In a press statement, Horne said the minor accident left no dent and at most caused a few paint scratches. He noted that the owner of the vehicle told police that a dent in the Range Rover was preexisting.
“The vehicle’s owner stated the car already had a dent that the federal agents who noted the incident wrongly assumed I caused,” Horne said in the statement. “Had I known there were scratches, I would have left my name and contact information so that I could have taken care of this personally.”
The March 2012 incident came to light after FBI agents said they witnessed the accident in a parking garage at 2nd Avenue and Roosevelt Street. The agents were following Horne in conjunction with an investigation into alleged campaign finance violations by Horne.
According to FBI reports, agents witnessed Horne and colleague Carmen Chenal leave the Attorney General’s Office in separate vehicles and meet up in a nearby parking garage. They met in a nearby parking garage and left in the same car, with Horne now driving and wearing a baseball cap, the report said.
Horne has said he doesn’t remember details of the day, but was likely getting lunch at a Pita Jungle restaurant next to the garage. The parking garage serves both the restaurant and the apartment where Chenal lived at the time.