Tom Horne's Investigator Meg Hinchey Sues Horne for Retaliation, Defamation
The complaint alleges Horne and his Chief Deputy Rick Bistrow defamed Hinchey, with Horne calling her a "liar" and "incompetent," and falsely implying a lesbian affair between Hinchey and Horne's general election rival from 2010, Felecia Rotellini.
Similarly, the complaint states that Bistrow has referred to Hinchey "in his personal verbal and written communications" as a "rogue investigator," a "perjurer," and a "grand jury fabricator."
But the retaliation alleged is more serious than name calling. Indeed, the complaint ascribes some very Andrew Thomas-like activities to Horne and his underlings, Bistrow and Criminal Division chief Andrew Pacheco.
These involve "conducting a sham `independent investigation'" into a notice of claim filed by former Phoenix Police Department officers. This probe concerned Hinchey's investigation into several PPD cops on (alleged) false overtime claims, and Hinchey's subsequent testimony to a grand jury on the same subject.
Horne has hired a lawyer from a firm he is associated with to investigate Hinchey. As a result, Hinchey has been, according to the claim, isolated, interrogated, and, weirdly, forced to work on the investigation of herself.
The claim states that Pacheco ordered Hinchey to sit in a room alone with the investigative files from the PPD inquiry and review them so the outside investigator could question her about the probe.
Allegedly, Pacheco refused Hinchey's request not to be left in a room alone with the documents.
"On information and belief," reads the complaint, "Horne and/or Bistrow through Pacheco are attempting to set up a scenario where Plaintiff must investigate herself and will be held responsible for any documents."
In other words, the claim suggests that Horne, et al. are looking for a way to terminate Hinchey's employment with the AG's office, by investigating allegations in this notice of claim, and by placing Hinchey in a position where she can be framed.
The claim also asserts that Hinchey has already received a de facto demotion, and that she is treated like a "pariah" at the AG's office.
Which is not difficult to believe. Nor would I put all of this backstabbing and skullduggery past Horne and Bistrow, considering everything that came to light as a result of the FBI investigation.
I spoke with Hinchey's attorney Susanne Dallimore. She contended that Hinchey's law enforcement career is essentially over.
I asked why.
"Because whatever happens for the rest of time, anyone who uses Meg's services as an investigator and a testifying officer, has to disclose that she was investigated for lying to a grand jury," she explained.
That would be a serious stain on her career, and one Horne no doubt would love to smear her with.
I asked Dallimore if she expected her client to be fired.