The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is going to prosecute Rep. Bob Robson, a Chandler Republican, on allegations he tampered with a campaign sign.
The misdemeanor charge was filed Aug. 25 and a pre-trial conference is set for Sept. 25. The charges stem from a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office investigation that alleges Robson had dropped off another man on Aug. 9 at a Chandler convenience store, where the unknown man destroyed a campaign sign that said Robson is a supporter of Obamacare. The man then got back into Robson’s truck. The alleged crime was captured on a convenience-store surveillance camera.
“I was able to confirm that we are prosecuting this matter,” said Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Robson’s attorney, Tom Ryan, said he thinks the prosecution is a waste of time, and he wonders why it took two plainclothes detectives to question Robson at his home and issue him what is essentially a traffic ticket.
“They got nothing on him,” Ryan said.
Ryan said the citation is filled out wrong and alleges the crime took place at Robson’s house, and the attorney plans to take advantage of the mistake.
The County Attorney’s Office is involved because it provides prosecutors for Maricopa County’s Justice Courts.
Ryan said Judge Keith Frankel of the San Marcos Justice Court disqualified himself from the case. Judge Sam Goodman has taken over the case.
Frankel, a Republican, paid Robson’s son, Daniel Robson, $300 to place campaign signs for him, according to spending reports for June 1 to Aug. 14. Frankel was re-elected Aug. 26 in the GOP primary.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office cited Robson Aug. 18 with tampering with a political sign, a misdemeanor punishable by up to four months in jail and up to a $750 fine. The signs contained arrows pointing to Robson’s and Legislative District 18 seatmate Rep. Jeff Dial’s campaign signs, and said the lawmakers voted for Obamacare. Both lawmakers were part of a group of Republican lawmakers who helped to pass Medicaid expansion in 2013.
Robson was one of the top two vote-getters in the GOP primary Aug. 26 and will move onto the Nov. 4 general election against Democrat Denise Epstein. Dial, who is running for the Senate, trounced his GOP opponent by 19 points and will move on to face Democrat Janie Hydrick.