A judge this afternoon rebuffed efforts by Attorney General Tom Horne to quash a criminal investigation into whether he has been using public resources in his reelection bid.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain rejected as “entirely unconvincing” Horne’s contention that the entire Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is bound to be biased against him simply because County Attorney Bill Montgomery is supporting Mark Brnovich, Horne’s Republican primary foe.
“It is apparent that Mr. Montgomery does not think much of plaintiff Horne,” Brain conceded. But he said using that as a standard could pretty much prevent any prosecutor from looking into the questions of whether Horne is violating state laws.
Brain conceded the possibility that if the investigation turns up something that Horne could be indicted right in the middle of his reelection effort. But he said all the publicity about the dispute — including Horne’s repeated contentions of Montgomery’s bias — “actually appear to help him by bolstering his ability to argue that any indictment is just a political stunt.”
“Public policy certainly does not favor shielding candidates from investigations during elections,” Brain wrote.
“If a candidate broke the law, he should receive his just reward,” the judge continued. “Moreover, if there is, in fact, probable cause to indict plaintiff Horne, then the public has every right to know it so that voters can factor it into their decisions on how to cast their ballots.”