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Arizona Judge OKs Atty. Gen.'s Mecham Probe

November 19, 1987|United Press International

PHOENIX — A judge, after a lengthy closed hearing, ruled Wednesday that the state attorney general may continue his grand jury investigation of alleged improprieties by Gov. Evan Mecham.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Ryan said no conflict of interest existed that would require the removal of Atty. Gen. Bob Corbin from the investigation into an allegedly secret $350,000 campaign loan to Mecham in violation of state law.

In addition to the grand jury investigation, Mecham is the subject of a recall drive, possible impeachment and calls for his resignation.

The first-term Republican governor has denied any intentional wrongdoing.

Fiery Arguments

Ryan's decision was issued after a morning session of fiery argument in open court, followed by nearly three hours of talks in the judge's chambers.

Ryan said his ruling partly was based on "avowals made by the state with regard to the scope of the investigation" and "statements made" by Mecham's attorney, Murray Miller. The judge did not elaborate.

Miller had been trying to oust Corbin from the investigation, contending that the attorney general's role in it was a violation of the traditional confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship and that "confidences" concerning the loan had been exchanged between Mecham and Corbin.

Under the Arizona Constitution, the attorney general represents the public but acts as legal counsel to the governor also.

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