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AG Brnovich demands answers from Adel on dropped cases

Allister Adel
Posted at 1:21 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 14:09:01-04

PHOENIX — The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has requested County Attorney Allister Adel to provide detailed information about 180 criminal cases that were dropped because her office failed to file charges on time.

In a March 17 letter, Attorney General Mark Brnovich cited a state law that gives his office supervisory powers over county attorneys.

The letter requests for a “complete report” with a list of the cases that were not timely filed, background information on each case, and a thorough explanation as to why the cases were not timely filed.

Brnovich also asked Adel to include details about how her office is structured and what steps are being taken to prevent the mistake from happening again.

The deadline set by the Attorney General’s Office is March 31.

Earlier this week, the MCAO sent ABC15 a statement confirming the unfiled cases were misdemeanors from 2020. Arizona law requires that charges in misdemeanor cases, such as DUI and assault, can only be filed within one year of the crime occurring.

The Arizona Republic first reported news about the dropped cases.

Brnovich’s letter adds to the political pressure on Adel from within her own political party.

On Wednesday, Governor Doug Ducey criticized Adel for failing to take responsibility for the mistake.

Calls for Adel’s resignation have continued to grow ever since ABC15’s “Politically Charged” investigation, which exposed the county attorney’s office colluded with Phoenix police to invent a gang and then falsely charge protesters as members.

Adel blamed the scandal on subordinates even though she was aware of the charges in the days after an indictment.

In the months following ABC15’s investigation, Adel was forced to admit she was receiving treatment for alcoholism in an out-of-state rehab program.

Internal text messages obtained by ABC15 show the county attorney did not notify other county leaders about her absence.

MCAO made a statement on March 18 saying, "The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is in receipt of the March 17, 2022, letter from the Arizona Attorney General and will respond accordingly. As previously stated, I take full responsibility for everything that happens within this office. The Office took steps to notify law enforcement agencies and victims of this error and will continue to redirect resources to ensure it does not occur in the future."

Friday night, activists projected images on the MCAO building in downtown Phoenix calling for the Adel's resignation.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at Dave@ABC15.com.