Five Top Prosecutors Under Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel Ask Her to Resign

 

Republican Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel has admitted she has a history of alcohol abuse, and it has led to five of the top prosecutors in her office asking her to resign. Adel issued a statement immediately after their letter became public, refusing to resign.

Former Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora, who worked with Adel until January of 2021, told the Arizona Sun Times, “It was clear from the beginning she couldn’t do her actual job. She behaved like just another sycophant for the Board of Supervisors. The substance abuse alone should have disqualified her as a prosecutor, and her deputies exposing her incompetence verifies what we already knew.”

In their letter, the prosecutors accused Adel of relapsing into alcoholism after finishing a treatment program, including failing to show up at work very often and incoherent conversations. They cited “cancelled meetings and unfocused conversations.” Adel “did not appear in the office from approximately mid-December until the end of January, other than perhaps a few half days.”

They brought up how Adel called a bureau chief at 11 a.m. to discuss how to prank an employee who had just submitted their resignation. The bureau chief said she “displayed obvious signs of impairment during this conversation, a conversation that was unprofessional and unfocused.”

The prosecutors copied the Arizona State Bar in their letter, hinting that they want further action taken against her after she resigns.

In her response, Adel stated, “While I respect their opinion, I vehemently disagree with the characterization of me in this letter and I have no plans to resign.”

Adel was out of the office in treatment in August and September for 13 days before other county officials started asking questions. When Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone found out, he gave her 24 hours to notify the Maricopa County supervisors. He forced her to admit that she was receiving treatment in California for alcohol, anxiety, and an eating disorder. She misstated the period of time she was in the facility, claiming it was 29 days when it was 19.

Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates said a member of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office leadership told him that he received a drunken after-hours phone call from her.

Adel’s communications director resigned a few days ago, citing the “untenable situation” of using the public office to defend Adel about her sobriety and leadership. “As I have repeatedly conveyed, I believe the best use of the communications team is to communicate about the work of the office — not in defending the county attorney individually,” Jennifer Liewer wrote. “It is my hope that a third-party public relations consultant is engaged to handle the matter in its entirety.”

Adel ordered Liewer escorted out of the office after she resigned, “assigned at home” for her remaining three weeks and prohibited from any contact with other employees. The division chiefs cited this in their letter. “While you may have had the authority to do so, as we preach to our attorneys, just because you can does not mean you should. Given the totality of the circumstances, this decision can only be described as illogical and irrational.”

Adel was initially appointed county attorney in 2019 by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors after the previous county attorney, Bill Montgomery, resigned to become a justice on the Arizona Supreme Court. When the term was up in 2020, she ran and won.

Flora filed a bar complaint against Adel in September 2020 over what he saw as a conflict of interest due to her loyalties to the supervisors, whom he was considering suing. He did not believe she could ethically represent both himself and them. He believed she deliberately ignored his requests for outside legal counsel.

Flora said in his complaint, “Ms. Adel continually failed to respond to inquiries about the case and is required to represent the Maricopa treasurer’s office as well as the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, whose interests conflict.” Flora resigned his term early in 2021 due to frustration with the supervisors, joining an effort to recall them over their handling of the 2020 election.

Adel has a history of siding with the supervisors in the attempts to uncover election fraud in the 2020 election. When the Arizona Senate subpoenaed the election routers, Adel defended the supervisors’ refusal to turn them over, “Providing them or their virtual images could jeopardize the security of law enforcement data and programs, as well as Maricopa County citizens’ financial, healthcare, and other private information.”

In her new book “Justified: The Story of America’s Audit,” Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward sarcastically responded to Adel’s excuse, saying, “If this sounds like another far-fetched Democrat fish story — I’d say you’re right. How could the entire county use routers that weren’t connected to the internet?”

On May 21, 2021, Adel sent a letter to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott), accusing her of making false claims with her election fraud concerns, specifically regarding deleting election files. Adel put her on litigation notice, hinting that she was about to sue the Senate on behalf of the supervisors.

One of the division chiefs who signed the letter was Rachel Mitchell, who testified about sex crimes during the confirmation hearing of Chief Justice Bret Kavanaugh. She said a “reasonable prosecutor” would not have brought a case against Kavanaugh based on the evidence and testimony presented by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at the Judiciary Committee hearing.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at the Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Allister Adel” by Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel.

 

 

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