Timing of AG Horne's plea politically astute - New York News

Timing of AG Horne's plea politically astute

Posted: Updated:

By BOB CHRISTIE
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's no contest plea in a misdemeanor hit & run case came without warning, even for the court.

The unscheduled court appearance came on what was arguably the biggest news day of the year in Phoenix, with state and national media focused on the outcome of the Jodi Arias trial.

City prosecutor Aaron J. Carreon-Ainsa said Horne's lawyer called him early Wednesday afternoon and asked if Horne could appear in court and enter a plea. The Arias verdict was to be read at 1:30 p.m.

The timing had the effect of burying the story and minimizing the political damage for Horne.

Retired Arizona State University political science professor Bruce Merrill says the timing of Horne's plea was politically astute.

"Let me tell you how smart it is - I didn't even know it happened," Merrill said when an Associated Press reporter asked him about the timing on Thursday. "Political people often do that. With the stuff that was going on in Cleveland, with the Arias stuff, even something as important as the hearings on Benghazi, were kind of blown away. So there's absolutely no focus on it."

Horne spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said the timing was coincidence. Horne's office announced the plea had been entered just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

"You all wrote about it, so clearly nothing got past you guys,' Grisham said Thursday.

Defense attorney Michael Kimerer said he was working on a deal all week.

"There was a window and we just wanted to get it done," Kimerer said.

Horne had been fighting the case tooth and nail for months, deposing FBI agents who witnessed the parking lot incident and reported it to Phoenix police, and seeking a dismissal on constitutional grounds. He was scheduled for a trial on the misdemeanor case on May 28.

The FBI agents who were following Horne in March 2012 had apparently been doing so during the course of a campaign finance investigation, although agents interviewed by Kimerer refused to say that was the case.

The FBI waited seven months before notifying Phoenix police - after the Maricopa County attorney's office filed civil charges in the campaign finance case. They also declined to explain that delay, Kimerer said in February. Kimerer previously said that the way the FBI pursued the case showed they "were just rabid to get him."

Just last week, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge blocked the county attorney from pursuing the campaign finance case filed against Horne. The judge ruled that Secretary of State Ken Bennett violated procedure by not sending the case to Horne himself for review.

"It was very fortuitous," Bennett said when asked about the timing of Horne's plea. "Sometimes the stars align for certain people."

Horne and current aide Kathleen Winn were accused of illegally coordinating hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign spending for Horne during his 2010 campaign.

The case is now back with the secretary of state. Bennett spokesman Matt Roberts said this week that he plans on complying with the judge's order and sending the case to Horne.

Horne is expected to declare a conflict of interest and refer the campaign finance case to another outside prosecutor.

Related stories

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Summit at City Hall on police-community relations

    Summit at City Hall on police-community relations

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:06 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:06:56 GMT
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City is at the center of a summit being held on Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders are attending the round table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island prompted the discussion.
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City is at the center of a summit being held on Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders are attending the round table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island prompted the discussion.
  • Falling debris from Midtown building

    Falling debris from Midtown building

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:19 AM EDT2014-07-31 14:19:35 GMT

    Emergency personnel are responding to falling debris from a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. West 57th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues is closed. SkyFoxHD was overhead where pieces of glass could be seen on the ground and a window shattered. Two people were hit by the falling glass at about 8:45 a.m. and were taken to Roosevelt Hospital with minor injuries, according to police.

    Emergency personnel are responding to falling debris from a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. West 57th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues is closed. SkyFoxHD was overhead where pieces of glass could be seen on the ground and a window shattered. Two people were hit by the falling glass at about 8:45 a.m. and were taken to Roosevelt Hospital with minor injuries, according to police.

  • Arrest in attack on teen in elevator

    Arrest in attack on teen in elevator

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:24 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:24:13 GMT
    Two thugs were caught on security camera footage beating a teenager and stealing from her inside an apartment building in the Midwood section of Brooklyn.  The NYPD says the attackers are seen dragging the 18-year-old out of an elevator into the hallway and punching and kicking her.
    Police have arrested one of two suspects wanted in the brutal attack of a teenager inside her apartment building in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. The thugs were caught on security camera footage beating the 18-year-old at about 9:34 on Sunday night. The attackers are seen dragging the girl out of an elevator into the hallway and punching and kicking her. Tyler Hopping, 18, was arrested on Wednesday.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices