Tom Horne's Red Herring Defense Stinks Up Campaign Finance Case
Lawyers for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne have hit upon yet another less-than-ingenious strategy to save him and his outreach director, Kathleen Winn, from being found guilty of campaign finance violations and possibly fined $1.2 million.
That is, to accuse FBI agent Brian Grehoski -- one of the federal investigators tasked with looking into Horne's mountain of misdeeds -- of perjury.
Think of it as a Shamu-sized red herring, meant to divert attention from the mountain of evidence against their clients.
Last week, Winn's attorneys Larry Debus and Timothy LaSota, and Horne's lawyer Michael Kimerer, submitted a motion to strike all of Grehoski's testimony, which he made at a recent hearing into alleged illegal coordination between Winn and Horne during the 2010 general election.
The motion to strike suggests Grehoski had an "agenda" in pursuing Horne. This, the writers allege, explains why Grehoski supposedly "testified falsely" regarding phone interviews the FBI did with Horne's real estate broker Greg Tatham.
See, Grehoski and partner Merv Mason spoke with Tatham a couple of times about his work in 2010 helping to sell a $1.3 million piece of property belonging to Horne.
The agents interviewed Tatham in order to check out one of the excuses that Winn and Horne have floated: that the more than five hours of calls that took place between Horne and Winn's cell phones, from October 15 through 28, 2010, had to do with Winn's giving Horne advice on his then-pending real estate deal.
Horne and Winn maintain that this is what they were chatting about. You know, instead of the attack ad Winn was working on during that time, targeting Horne's general election rival, Felecia Rotellini.
Thing is, Winn's name does not appear in any of the legal paperwork or e-mails dealing with the Horne real estate transaction. She's not even cc'd on them.
The FBI agents asked Tatham, husband of former Horne spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico, if he knew whether Horne was soliciting advice from others over the deal.
An FBI report, summarizing the discussions with Tatham, states:
"Tatham was not aware of HORNE ever consulting with KATHLEEN WINN for real estate advise [sic] on the sale of the property. WINN was not involved in the transaction of sale of 1515 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ."