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Arizona's Acting Governor Plans for Her Role During Mecham Trial

February 08, 1988|Associated Press

PHOENIX — Acting Gov. Rose Mofford met with advisers Sunday to plan how she will take charge of the state after the Arizona House votes today on specific articles of impeachment against Gov. Evan Mecham.

Mofford, the secretary of state, was to meet with legislative leaders today and may address the Legislature on Tuesday, officials said.

Mecham also faces a recall election on May 17 and criminal trial, beginning March 9, on charges that he concealed a $350,000 campaign loan--one of the three accusations that led to his impeachment Friday.

Mecham, a Republican who has been in office a little more than a year, also has come under fire for rescinding the state holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and for making comments that offended blacks, Jews and others.

Senate Trial Pending

Mecham's trial in the state Senate is expected to begin Feb. 22.

Mofford, a Democrat, met Sunday with her transition staff, which includes several people who were aides to Bruce Babbitt, the former governor who is now a Democratic presidential candidate. Babbitt's former chief of staff, Andrew Hurwitz, will head her transition team, said spokeswoman Athia Hardt, who was Babbitt's press secretary.

The articles of impeachment were to be presented today to the five-member impeachment board of managers, which is composed of House members who will oversee prosecution in the Senate.

The articles will stipulate the three main allegations against Mecham: that he concealed the $350,000 campaign loan, that he misused $80,000 from the governor's protocol fund by lending it to his auto dealership, and that he tried to thwart investigation of a death threat allegedly made by a state official.

Auto Stock Vandalized

Meanwhile, 22 cars and three buildings at Mecham's Pontiac dealership in suburban Glendale were damaged by vandals, and Vernon Bradley Jordan, 21, son of the service manager, was arrested. Police spokesman Marshall Downen said that most of the damage was broken glass, but office supplies and equipment in one building also were extensively damaged.

Downen said officials did not know why the business was vandalized. The governor's son, Dennis, has operated it since Mecham became governor.

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