Stapley, Wilcox plead not guilty in indictments - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Stapley, Wilcox plead not guilty in indictments

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Posted: Monday, December 21, 2009 2:54 pm | Updated: 3:07 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Indicted Maricopa County Supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox entered pleas of not guilty Monday in a Pima County court room.

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Indicted Maricopa County Supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox entered pleas of not guilty Monday in a Pima County court room.

Stapley told Pima County Superior Court Judge John S. Leonardo on Monday that he looked forward to proving that the charges were "baseless." Wilcox had no comment.

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Stapley, a Mesa Republican, stands accused of using campaign funds intended for a run as president of the National Association of Counties for buying luxury items and vacations for himself. He was arraigned on 22 counts of misusing campaign funds, fraud and theft.

Wilcox stands accused in the 36-count indictment of perjury, false swearing and conflict of interest. She is accused of not disclosing a conflict of interest when she voted on matters involving a nonprofit that had extended loans to her.

On Friday, Wilcox asked the court to dismiss the case and disqualify Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Colin Campbell, formerly the highest ranking judge in Maricopa County and Wilcox's attorney, said her debt did not reach the threshold requirement for disclosing a conflict of interest.

Wilcox never benefitted directly or indirectly from her votes for the nonprofit, Chicanos Por la Causa.

"But what is most shocking about the allegations made by the County Attorney is that they are on their face both unfounded on the law and on the facts," Campbell said at a Dec. 15 press conference.

Campbell said it is clear through public records that Wilcox wasn't even present during one of the votes in which she is alleged to have participated.

Campbell said Thomas' long-running feud with the Board of Supervisors and his duty as the board's civil attorney creates a conflict of interest for him.

Campbell said the Maricopa County Attorney's Office advised Wilcox about matters at issue in the indictment.

Campbell argued in a written motion that Thomas can't ethically prosecute Wilcox because he had already disqualified himself from prosecutions and investigations of the Board of Supervisors in April.

At that time, Thomas turned over a 118-count of Supervisor Don Stapley to Yavapai County. That case is a separate matter from the one he pleaded not guilty to on Monday.

The first case fell apart when Judge Kenneth Fields dismissed almost half the counts in September. The Yavapai County Attorney dismissed the rest of the counts pending an appeal.

"No one could seriously suggest that a judge who voluntarily recused himself from a case could later unilaterally decide to resume his role as an unbiased neutral," Campbell wrote. "The same is true of a prosecutor."

Thomas tried to hire special prosecutors to handle the newest indictment against Stapley and investigate the funding of a $340 million court tower, but the Board of Supervisors refused to vote on the matter.

The board said Thomas did not follow procurement rules when he tried to hire the prosecutors.

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