Lawyer Mark Goldman May Have Helped Launch Retaliatory Case Against County Supervisor Don Stapley, Report Says
Mark Goldman, of the law firm Wilenchik & Bartness, "likely" inititated a retaliatory criminal investigation against County Supervisor Don Stapley, if Lisa Aubuchon didn't, says an investigative report
Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon and Rachel Alexander, all late of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, were the key figures in a damning 76-page disciplinary report released yesterday.
They're the ones who stand to lose their law licenses. But if you just scanned the report by out-of-state investigator John Gleason, you might have missed a few interesting guest appearances.
For instance, the report prominently mentioned Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his top aide, David Hendershott. According to a deputy, the report says, Hendershott claimed at a December 8, 2009 meeting that Arpaio personally came up with the idea of charging Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe with bribery -- a charge they knew was bogus due to the complete lack of evidence.
A minor, but notable character in the report is local lawyer Mark Goldman, who until recently worked for the Wilenchik Bartness firm. Goldman is a former deputy county attorney who apparently worked on the early (and highly questionable) investigation of County Supervisor Don Stapley.
The report (click here for a PDF copy) concludes that Thomas, Aubuchon and possibly some folks over at the Sheriff's Office simply decided one day to begin researching possible crimes committed by Stapley, a political opponent of Arpaio and Thomas.
Someone, probably Aubuchon, then began pulling public records from the Internet about Stapley that would later be used to obtain a criminal indictment.
If Aubuchon didn't initiate the investigation herself, than Goldman "likely" did, the report says.
As we covered in our November 26, 2009, article about the investigations into Stapley, Aubuchon met with sheriff's deputies in May of 2008 and claimed she'd received a tip of potential wrongdoing. The sheriff's report we saw last year stated the investigation began after that -- and now we know that's not true. It started in 2007.
Goldman attended meetings about alleged corruption in the county, (during which Stapley's name presumably came up) in 2007 and had been "handing out information about Stapley at one of those meetings."
Investigator Gleason wrote in his report that:
Chief Hendershott of the Sheriffs Office asked Sgt. Brandon Luth of the Sheriff's Office to start looking at Stapley in January 2007, but to keep it confidential.
Aubuchon, if not another deputy county attorney, began in January 2007 to research
Stapley on the Internet.
If she did not initiate this investigation herself, then it is likely that former deputy county attorney Mark Goldman did so.
It's unclear if the info on Stapley that Goldman reportedly handed out at the ironically named "anti-corruption" task force meetings was stuff he'd dug up himself, or pages from Aubuchon's printer.
Stapley, as you probably know, was ultimately indicted on 118 counts. (Most of which were later thrown out. A few remain on appeal.)
In an e-mail to New Times, Goldman claims he has "no recollection" of handing out material about Stapley at the meetings. He also says he "did not initiate or help to initiate" any investigations at the county attorney's office, and that he knew "nothing whatsoever" of any investigation of Stapley in 2007.
His explanations fall short, as far as we're concerned, but Goldman would not respond to follow-up questions via e-mail.
Goldman also worked for the legal team that was defending Lisa Aubuchon for a time -- the same team that hired private investigators to tail John Gleason while he was in town and investigating on behalf of the Arizona Supreme Court.
Now Gleason's on Aubuchon's tail. And, to a smaller extent, Goldman's.