Arpaio’s Prosecutor Under Fire for Abuse of Power
If things went differently, Andrew Thomas might have had a bright career in Arizona politics.
In six years as the top prosecutor in Maricopa County, he stood side-by-side with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and earned a reputation as an aggressive and ambitious politician. A pair of conservative warriors in a Republican stronghold, the two teamed up to push for tougher treatment of illegal immigrants and to pursue what they saw as widespread corruption by local government officials.
But somewhere in the process, according to ethics investigators who scrutinized his actions in recent years, Thomas became obsessed with his political enemies. With Arpaio’s help, he targeted them with criminal investigations, had some of them arrested and some charged with crimes. The evidence he and Arpaio used in the process was often questionable. The charges rarely stuck.
Later today, the former prosecutor, who graduated from Harvard Law School the same year as Barack Obama, is facing the possibility of being disbarred for his role in the crusade.
Ethics investigators with the State Bar of Arizona have accused Thomas of a spree of bad acts, saying he abused his authority even to the point of committing crimes himself.
He “undermined the public trust and inflicted great damage to the system of justice,” the investigators wrote in December. “The only way to restore that trust and to repair the damage to the system is to disbar Thomas.”
The investigators have also called for one of Thomas’ top aides, Lisa Aubuchon, to be disbarred and for another aide, Rachel Alexander, to have her license suspended.
A judge in Phoenix is scheduled to unveil the decisions on all three cases at noon ET.