Ed Moriarity, Lisa Aubuchon's Ex-Lawyer From Montana, Disbarred in AZ

moriarity-two-shots.jpg
Ed Moriarity, the Montana lawyer who represented former county officials including Lisa Aubuchon, David Hendershott and Joel Fox, has been disbarred in Arizona.
Ed Moriarity, the Montana lawyer who worked for Lisa Aubuchon, David Hendershott and Joel Fox, has been disbarred in Arizona.

A complaint by the State Bar of Arizona, followed by the July 15 disbarment order, explains that Moriarity knew claims by former Maricopa County officials Aubuchon and Hendershott were false, yet moved forward with a frivolous lawsuit against two Valley lawyers and other defendants.

See also:
-Ed Moriarity Makes for Good Theater -- but Not Good Defense
-Ed Moriarity Ordered to Pay for Filing Garbage Lawsuit Vs. County Foes

As New Times reported in December, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sally Duncan threw out the lawsuit because it had no basis in fact. She levied a $203,000 sanction against Moriarity, Hendershott and Aubuchon.

Moriarity acted as Aubuchon's attorney during 2011 State Bar proceedings related to unethical acts by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Aubuchon, a former deputy county attorney, was ultimately disbarred along with her boss, Thomas. Arpaio escaped punishment because he's not a lawyer. Two other lawyers, Rachel Alexander and Peter Spaw, were also disciplined in the debacle. Arpaio was forced to fire his former chief deputy, Hendershott, after an investigation found he'd committed numerous policy violations and potential crimes.

A former partner of famed "country lawyer" Gerry Spence, Moriarity put on an interesting show before a three-member disciplinary panel of the state Supreme Court, becoming engaged frequently in confrontations with the Arizona Supreme Court's Disciplinary Judge, William O'Neil, who at one point threatened to hold him contempt.

A foe of the county establishment, he also served as lawyer for Fox, the patsy in Arpaio's apparent scheme to thwart campaign-finance laws before the 2008 election, and Joe Diaz and Luis Campas, the boxing coach and boxer whose lawsuit against former County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox failed.

Although Moriarity had stated previously he had worked "pro bono" for Aubuchon, the State Bar complaint reveals that he had a fee agreement with Aubuchon -- meaning he hoped to make money from her despite the fact that the claims by Hendershott and Aubuchon were nonsense. The complaint calls Moriarity's assertion that he was giving Aubuchon a free legal defense "dishonest and uncooperative."

Judge Duncan, prior to levying her sanction, criticized the lawsuit by Aubuchon and Hendershott heavily, saying "No legal or factual basis ever existed to file a complaint against these defendants, and the court further finds the complaint was filed for vexatious purposes."

Aubuchon and Hendershott filed their lawsuit in August 2011 against all five County Supervisors, various county officials, and the two lawyers, Tom Irvine and Ed Novak. It was based on a ludicrous conspiracy theory that Arpaio, Thomas and their minions had cooked up as a weapon to use against the people they perceived as political enemies. Arpaio and Thomas, whose partnership was later likened to an "unholy collaboration" by the three-member disciplinary panel, took their theory public in 2009 when they announced the filing of a RICO suit against their targets.

The two lawmen claimed the many named defendants in their RICO suit had conspired to fund an overly expensive court tower in exchange for blocking criminal proceedings against former Supervisor Don Stapley, (who later won $3.5 million from the county for his troubles).

The RICO suit and underlying conspiracy theory had numerous holes, including the fact that wild allegations of involvement by lawyers Novak and Irvine had no evidence (or even plausibility) behind them.

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Thomas Irvine
Although Thomas, now running for governor using public money, has an 8,000-word screed on his website in which he claims that a lawyer working for him and Arpaio on the RICO suit, Robert Driscoll, thought the theory was solid, records later showed that Driscoll told a colleague in an email it was "freaking thin" and "an excuse for a noontime scotch."

Former Phoenix New Times staff writer Sarah Fenske, now editor of the L.A. Weekly, later destroyed the theory in a February 2010 expose.

Thomas and Arpaio dropped the RICO suit a few months after filing it.

In a January 2013 letter to the State Bar, Moriarity admitted the lawsuit by Hendershott and Aubuchon was based on the court-tower conspiracy theory, the Bar complaint states.

He began representing Aubuchon in February 2010. But by November of that year, a report on a state investigation into the antics of Thomas and Arpaio had concluded that no evidence existed for the conspiracy theory. The disciplinary panel later called it "factually impossible."

Moriarity knew from Rachel Alexander's July 21,2011, deposition that Alexander's supervisor, Peter Spaw, "had expressed serious reservations to Alexander about the RICO Suit's viability; and that Alexander had done no independent investigation of the RICO Suit's factual basis, including the supposed Court Tower Conspiracy," the complaint says. Yet Moriarity pressed ahead with the lawsuit, in "bad faith," and for hoped-for financial gain.

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Lisa Aubuchon
It gets worse: Moriarity claimed he'd spent a week in August 2011 working with Hendershott and Aubuchon on their case, reviewing stacks of documents. He later admitted he'd been in his home state of Montana that week. He also was supposed to put his signature on the lawsuit, but had Aubuchon sign it.

The 15-count complaint accuses Moriarity of dishonest, misconduct, fraud and other ethical violations.

"This Thomas/Arpaio rampage has harmed hundreds of innocent people and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars," lawyer Tom Irvine tells New Times in a written statement. "This is yet another sad, but necessary, result. Hopefully, no other public officials in America will ever abuse their offices like this again."

Click here to read the Bar complaint against Ed Moriarity.

Moriarity's website states that he's still licensed to practice in Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Ray Stern on Twitter at @RayStern.



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27 comments
arizonaeagletarian
arizonaeagletarian

Thanks for being specific about the scope of Moriarity's disbarment. I have to wonder now if there might be any professional conduct rules in any of the other states in which he's licensed that might be cause for either separate investigations and additional disbarments or automatic disbarment once the state bar in the other states find out about this.

james8394
james8394

Moriarity...the game is afoot. Bring your revolver, Watson.  

momiltko
momiltko

The hack reporter who wrote this has not bothered to get the facts even close to right. If there were such a thing as journalistic ethics in AZ, he would be disbarred. Honestly, be a little responsible Stern and make an effort to report the truth rather than publish one side of a political battle that continues to embarrass Maricopa County throughout the nation.

Katie
Katie

Really? so you believe everything you read like the moron you sound like.  You people in Maricopa County deserve the justice you get.  Close your eyes and turn your backs and I hope someday you are in a situation where you have been treated unjustly.  Your County is so corrupt and you let it happen. 

Katie
Katie

Has this newspaper ever thought about getting Ed Moriarity's side of the story or do you  all just believe the corrupt system in Maricopa County and always look the other way? I can't wait until it effects you, then someday you will wish you had an attorney like Mr. Moriarity who would fight for your rights!

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

You just can't make this shit up.

Only in AZ can a "lawyer" from Montana be disbarred in Arizona.

marcy
marcy

When Henderslob going to cough up the money he was fined?  It's not like he isn't living high on the hog at taxpayer's expense with his double dipping pension that is a perfect example of how public pensions can be bloated beyond all reason or justification.



rh19541954
rh19541954

Karma has caught up with the legal team who had allowed the disgrace that is Arpaio, will karma catch up with Arpaio? Or will he have to wait for his karma upon judgment day from Jesus, my guess is the later!

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

So now Col Ed can go back to selling fried chicken!

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

The process of weeding out.

salmo60
salmo60

The funniest thing about this Arpaio, Thomas, Aubuchon, Alexander et al attack on their enemies is all of these people suffered in one way or another except for the puppet master Joseph Arpaio. 

As much as it pains me to say, Joe is a master manipulator and strategist. He is very much like the late gangster, John Gotti, the "Teflon Don"/Lawman. He destroys people and his minions and walks away unscathed. 

cinesimonj
cinesimonj

@momiltko Gee - what a substantive retort! Full of facts. 

Are you really this lacking in self awareness?

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@momiltko Seems you are the one without facts.  Is that you Lisa?

TommyCollins
TommyCollins topcommenter

@Katie


Ya know, Katie, if old Ed fought the good fight he lost twice. He lost for his clients and now he lost for himself. it's not likely, however, that he will ever need to practice law in Arizona. Was he ever paid anything for his time and expenses?

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

I would rather trust Hermann Goering than Moriarity Katie.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@Katie How's your cat, Rachel?  Had time to wash your hair this year?

dlee23
dlee23

Meh, Moriarity's side of the story is in the court/BAR documents... he admits to moronic lawyer behavior.

Moriarity wasn't fighting for anyone's rights, he was fighting to get his ego recognized in the media and his hopes of a pay day at a later date. Pull your head out as you are getting f'ed up on your own methane output it appears.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@marcy Like his buddy, Russell Pearce? All with "big" government jobs fed by the taxpayers? This should be criminal in itself.

DNichols
DNichols

@salmo60 Teflon Don" is very slippery, and covers his crimes well.



Joe will throw every one around him before he gos down for his corruption.


I saw Arpaio on the news last night, he sounded like a feeble little old lady?!


Dirt nap soon?

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@WhoKnows @momiltko Rachel Alexander or Andrew Thomas? The troika should have been sent to prison, like what they did to over 200,000 felony cases.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@DNichols @salmo60 The Joker would get off due to what would clearly be an insanity defense.  (or he'd get the flu for the whole trial - that's worked for him in the past.)

salmo60
salmo60

@DNichols @salmo60 Unfortunately for many of us, the only way Arpaio will leave as Sheriff of Maricopa County is when he is deceased. The politicians are afraid of him, think John Edgar Hoover, CA Bill Montgomery owes him for (Monty) being elected and Arpaio endorsed "Horn Dog" Tom Horne, another political favor.

Well played Mr. Arpaio!

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