We’ve gotten more detail on that press conference that Washington GOP lawyers Joesph diGenova and Victoria Toensing held in Phoenix yesterday, to talk about their hiring as special prosecutors probing Don Stapley, a Maricopa County official whose high-profile arrest by deputies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio caused a stir recently.
They were at pains at push back against charges that their hiring, at taxpayer expense, by county attorney Andrew Thomas — a close Arpaio ally — suggested a vendetta against Stapley, who’s been a political antagonist of Thomas and Arpaio.
Nobody should view any part of this process as anything other than the routine function of government to investigate matters which are of public knowledge.
But asked whether he thought Arpaio’s recent controversial probable cause arrest of Stapley was acceptable, diGenova equivocated. “Is it acceptable?” he asked. “Well, it’s certainly legal.”
The pair announced that Arpaio’s office would be handling all the investigatory work in the case — as it had done even before the Washingtonians were brought in. As soon as the press conference was over, diGenova and Toensing met with Arpaio.
As we wrote yesterday, it’s not clear who paid for diGenova and Toensing’s flights to Phoenix and back. A columinst for the Arizona Republic has written, without elaborating, that taxpayers footed the bill. Michael Scerbo, a spokesman for Thomas’s office, told TPMmuckraker he didn’t know, and invited us to file a public records request to find out.