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Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel responds to prosecutors' letter asking her to resign

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Posted at 9:26 AM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 14:14:58-04

Multiple prosecutors with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office are asking County Attorney Allister Adel to resign, according to a letter obtained by ABC15 Tuesday.

Multiple sources said the letter was sent Monday, Feb. 14, by Barbara Marshall, Jason Kalish, Ryan Green, Rachel Mitchell, and Beth Beringhaus.

Adel has been dealing with a public sobriety battle for months.

Last year, she admitted that she entered an out-of-state rehab facility. ABC15 later obtained correspondence showing Adel didn’t inform county supervisors that she was in treatment.

The letter obtained Tuesday goes in-depth about Adel's struggles with alcoholism. Her top staff say she has not kept her promises to them and has lashed out when confronted about her problems.

It also dives into ABC15's latest investigation into Erin Otis, a prosecutor who was hired in early 2020 after leaving the bench as a judge while under judicial investigation.

The letter says Adel told Otis the day before ABC15's (dis)Honorable investigation broke she had Otis's back. Then the day of our report, Otis was placed on leave.

On Feb. 14, Adel made an alleged drunk call to a top staff member during work hours wanting to prank an employee who just resigned.

In response to the letter, Allister Adel released the following statement:

“As has been reported in the media, five attorneys in my office have submitted a letter asking me to resign. While I respect their opinion, I vehemently disagree with the characterization of me in this letter and I have no plans to resign.

I am honored to have been duly elected County Attorney and will continue to perform my duties as I was elected to do. In an office of over 1000 employees, it is not surprising that there are some who do not agree with every decision I make. I accept the current challenge with humility and will continue to do what I think is right and just for the citizens of this community.”

Adel wrote a letter back to the group, again saying she would not resign:

Multiple executives resigned in the wake of ABC15’s “Politically Charged” investigation, and a top-level civil division lawyer resigned earlier this month.

The MCAO communications director resigned last week and cited an “untenable situation” of using the public office to defend Adel personally about her sobriety and leadership.

Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates released the following statement in response to the letter:

"My office is taking seriously the letter we received from five division chiefs at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office regarding County Attorney Adel.

State law generally holds county elected officers accountable to voters, not to boards of supervisors, but we will seek outside legal counsel to ensure we fully understand our role in this matter.

As a friend of Ms. Adel's, I am concerned for her health and well-being as she works on her sobriety; as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, I am committed to supporting County Attorney's Office staff and operations during this challenging time."