PHOENIX - The Arizona Senate Ethics Committee on Thursday began an ethics hearing against Sen. Scott Bundgaard, with a prosecutor saying the Peoria Republican should be expelled from the Legislature for a domestic violence incident and initial witnesses describe seeing a nighttime physical altercation between a man and a woman next to a freeway.
The Senate Ethics Committee on Thursday began a hearing that could lead to recommendation to the full Senate for a letter of reprimand, a formal censure or even expulsion.
Independent Counsel Michael Liburdi said Bundgaard assaulted former girlfriend Aubry Ballard while they drove home the evening of Feb. 25 and then put her and responding police officers at risk by stopping in the median of a Phoenix freeway.
"The time has come for this committee to uphold the integrity of this institution and to hold Sen. Bundgaard accountable," Liburdi said.
Bundgaard has denied assaulting Ballard, and Bundgaard attorney Andre Merrett told the committee that his client regrets his role in the altercation. But he said Bundgaard never intended to harm Ballard or put her at risk.
"Better judgment should have prevailed and should have continued at a private location," Merrett said, apparently referring to Bundgaard's stopping his car along the median of Arizona 51.
But Bundgaard never intended to harm Ballard or put her at risk and that means he shouldn't be punished by the Senate, Merrett said.
Bundgaard and Ballard each reported to police being struck by the other. A police report said an investigation could not determine how the physical altercation began during an argument between the couple. But the report said witnesses reported seeing Bundgaard pull Ballard from his car and that she landed on the ground.
In initial testimony in the ethics hearing, witnesses said they saw man in a physical altercation with somebody as the man stood outside a car's open passenger door.
Two witnesses, including an off-duty police officer, said they saw a man in various stages of pulling a woman from the car, and another witness said she saw a man flailing his arms at the car.
"It looked like punches to me," said that witness, Linda Ann Calleja.
In videotaped deposition testimony shown to the committee, Phoenix police Sgt. Rich Maiocco said the scene looked like "somebody (was) getting their ass kicked."
Bundgaard pleaded no contest Aug. 16 to misdemeanor endangerment under a plea agreement that resulted in dismissal of an assault charge.
Bundgaard contends the ethics proceeding is unfair but a judge on Tuesday refused to block it.
Did You Hear?
The Pinnacle Peak Pistoleros put on their Wild West Shows with family-friendly jokes and stunts performed by vaudeville-type characters like those popular at the turn of the century.
According to a swimwear seller, picking the best swimsuit for you comes down to three things.
What happens if you beat the tough odds and hold the winner Powerball ticket? You celebrate. Then what?
More Central Phoenix News
Police said the 23-year-old firefighter was “gravely injured” when he became pinned between two vehicles.