We've been following this scandal closely here at American Post-Gazette, since some of us are married to or related to attorneys or judges, and are concerned that this could happen to any of them. Activist Laine Lawless, who has a long history of speaking up for and defending those who are wrongly attacked, interviews politically targeted attorney Lisa Aubuchon in a 7-part series (45 minutes long). Lawless is not a conservative, but she was so disgusted by how the State Bar targeted Aubuchon that she had to speak up. The interview is excellent and we recommend you try to watch the whole thing, Aubuchon gets to the bottom of why the State Bar targeted her, Andrew Thomas and Rachel Alexander. We've summarized some of the worst aspects of her testimony below. It will shock you. As we've said before
, Cook County is no longer the most corrupt county in the nation, Maricopa County is. At least in Cook County, Jesse Jackson, Jr., received 2.5 years in federal prison for doing the exact same thing that Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley did. What happened to Stapley? He awarded himself $3.5 million from us taxpayers for "stress" over being prosecuted, and got the prosecutors disbarred.
|AZ Bar Association v. Lisa Aubuchon Part 1
This is the first video; the next 6 can be found on Lawless's YouTube channel here
Aubuchon begins explaining how this all started; county judges were letting illegal immigrants accused of felonies out on bail, where they were at risk of committing more crimes. That set off the judiciary against Andrew Thomas, whose prosecutors did not want them released. The judges were also upset with Thomas because they could no longer pick up the phone and call him to arrange for lighter sentences for cronies, like they had done with liberal Republican Rick Romley in the past. Thomas insisted that everyone be treated equally under the law, no special treatment for judges or politicians.
Lisa then explains how she was told that Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley might be involved in some shady land swaps, and she started investigating and determined that it sure looked like it.
The presiding judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court at the time, Barbara Mundell, told Sheriff Arpaio's Chief Deputy Dave Hendershott that Don Stapley had told her if the judges want the $340 million dollar Taj Mahal court tower built in the midst of the recession, they must hire his lawyer buddy and yes-man Tom Irvine, as a "space planner" (yeah that's right, what is a space planner?). His firm was given over $1 million for their role as a space planner, and all he appeared to do was show up at some meetings and take notes.
Ed Novak, the guy behind all the corruption
Smelling corruption, Thomas decided to investigate Irvine's role. There was a grand jury investigation to determine if there was probable cause to prosecute Irvine. It was handled by the criminal presiding judge Gary Donahoe. Insanely, the supervisors turned around and hired Irvine and his law partner Ed Novak, a former president of the State Bar who is still on the Bar's board of governors, to be the attorneys objecting to their own investigation! Talk about a conflict of interest. They asked for a stay on the grand jury's investigation from the AZ Supreme Court, which was denied. So instead, they went to the AZ Bar disciplinary judge, William O'Neil, who granted the stay. Talk about unethical abuse of the legal system! Us ordinary people wouldn't get that kind of treatment going around the rules. It was later discovered that Novak was behind many of the frivolous bar complaints against Thomas that were all dismissed in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Novak got O'Neil to halt the grand jury just in time, because the grand jury was about to ask for draft indictment papers on him. At that time, liberal Republican Rick Romley had been appointed interim county attorney by the supervisors (who he rewarded by being their yes-man) and had a press conference announcing that the grand jury did not indict Novak. This was dishonest, because the grand jury was going to indict them if it hadn't been stopped by O'Neil.
As a result of this, the Bar brought charges against Aubuchon, Thomas and Alexander. The county attorney has never not paid for the costs of prosecuting deputy county attorneys, but in the case of Aubuchon, they refused to provide her an attorney for the trial. A Montana attorney was so outraged by the corruption, that he represented her throughout the entire trial pro bono.
During the show trial that went on against Thomas, Aubuchon and Alexander, Judge O'Neil never pronounced her name correctly - right up until three months later when the trial ended and he pronounced her disbarred. One way he frequently mispronounced her name was to refer to her as "Ambush-on," clearly implying she was corrupt - an obvious ethical violation by a judge.
When Aubuchon discovered that O'Neil had been involved quashing the Judge Donahoe grand jury investigation, she brought it to the attention of the court. O'Neil lied and said he had never been involved in it! But Aubuchon found the pleadings later with his name on it. A former close friend and neighbor of O'Neil, Mark Dixon, has bravely come forward with affidavits, speaking up about how O'Neil told him when Thomas and Aubuchon were attempting to indict Donahoe, that it was terrible what they were trying to do to Donahoe, a personal friend of his. Consequently, it was a MAJOR ethical conflict for O'Neil to ever be the disciplinary judge of Aubuchon and Thomas, when not only was Donahoe a personal friend of his, but he'd signed the paperwork stopping the grand jury indictment of him, and previously stated that he thought the indictment was terrible.
Several witnesses perjured themselves on the stand during the trial of Aubuchon, Thomas and Alexander, and when caught later in civil trials, recanted their statements! Judge Mundell testified that one of the jail overflow facilities had been condemned, as supposed justification to build the $340 million Taj Majal court tower. The sheriff's office contradicted her testimony on the stand, testifying that it hadn't been condemned, in fact they had continued to use it all along.
Aubuchon was told by a a senior attorney from a top, well-connected law firm during a settlement conference that she better take the settlement of a few years suspension and run, because a decision had already been made by O'Neil in collusion withe Bar to disbar her - before the trial had even started! Anyone who watched the trial could tell it was a kangaroo court the entire way, O'Neil frequently laughed and joked with the counsel representing the trio, as he was about to destroy their careers, completely inappropriate and something most judges would find themselves reprimanded for.
After O'Neil disbarred her, Aubuchon appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court. They took 14-15 months to decide her appeal, and she was not allowed to practice law most of that time, which is unprecedented. Arizona Bar rules state that disbarment actions take precedent over ALL other civil cases. Yet the Supreme Court didn't bother to follow their own rules - something that ironically, Aubuchon would have been disciplined for had she done the same thing - and sat on her case for over a year. Even REGULAR civil cases are usually decided three months after the final briefs are in!!!!
The Arizona Bar's own rules state that while on appeal, attorneys still get to practice law. Their reason for not allowing Aubuchon to continue practicing while on appeal? She's a "danger to the community." This is astonishing when you consider an Arizona attorney who was drinking and driving and killed someone, but was still allowed to practice law.
Scott Rhodes, one of the most respected attorneys in the state, who was initially going to represent Aubuchon but the corrupt cabal would not let him, told Aubuchon it was rare for
her have only to had one bar complaint against her in her 20+ years of practicing law as a senior
prosecutor. She has received multiple awards from law enforcement agencies and victims services. Her division awarded her trial attorney of the year.
Aubuchon's life has been turned upside down as a result of the political targeting. She was 7 years away from retirement, with 2 daughters in college. She was forced to cash out her retirement, which was taxed at 50%. To this day, she is still behind on her home
payments and has an IRS lien on her home. She has credit card debt and judgments
hanging over her head from people she prosecuted. She and her attorneys were
sanctioned $200,000 by Ed Novak. The judge awarded it to Novak simply for filing a
motion to dismiss. Even though there's a legal rule that says you can't get attorneys fees for yourself!
Aubuchon recommends the mandatory bar association be disbanded to stop these abuses. Half the states do not have a mandatory bar association. The Arizona bar association is run by an incestuous group of people that protects bad attorneys and harasses good attorneys. Please contact your state legislators and urge them to pass legislation disbanding this corrupt cabal. Any attorney in Arizona is in danger until this happens.