It was pretty comical yesterday watching Andrew Thomas, the former DA in Arizona's Maricopa County and Joe Arpaio's right-hand man in their corrupt attempts to intimidate county officials, hold his press conference denouncing the fact that he had just been disbarred for his behavior.
You see, it's all the fault of his enemies, and he's a martyr:
"I did my job. A lot of powerful people didn't like that," he said.
An Arizona ethics board disbarred Thomas Tuesday for failed corruption investigations that he and America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff launched against officials with whom they were having political and legal disputes.
"We now have a constitutional crisis in which prosecutors and members of the executive branch are being targeted by the judiciary for blowing the whistle on misconduct in the judiciary," he said.
He compared the figures behind his disbarring to corrupt Mexican officials.
"Arizona, after what happened yesterday, has become Mexico," Thomas said.
The best part, as Stephen Lemons observes:
"Other men, far greater than I, have gone to jail in defense of principles they believed in and so they would not kowtow to a corrupt ruler," Thomas said at one point. "People like Gandhi, people like Dr. King, people like Solzhenitsyn, people like Thomas More, people who stood for something....and I'm going to stand firm."
"Gandhi?" wondered one onlooker in amazement.
Yep, I could hardly believe my ears, too, as Thomas blamed his current situation on others -- a corrupt judiciary, powerful politicians, insiders who knew "how to work the system," Presiding Disciplinary Judge William O'Neil, his fellow lawyers, you name it. Anyone but himself.
Meanwhile, Joe Arpaio was whistling past Thomas' political graveyard in his noncommital remarks. Mainly because his head is next on the block:
And despite Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s efforts to distance himself from cases at the center of a legal ethics panel inquiry that cost a pair of former county prosecutors their careers — the fallout has moved closer.
“Sheriff Arpaio is the next big step,’’ said Mary Rose Wilcox, a Maricopa County official who has been at odds with the sheriff and his allies. “He will fall.’’
Arpaio has denied wrongdoing, but the three-member disciplinary panel of the Arizona courts said Tuesday that evidence suggests the sheriff conspired with Maricopa County’s former top prosecutor to intimidate a judge with unfounded criminal charges.
The ethics board’s sweeping ruling against former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and one of his assistant prosecutors says they wrongfully brought criminal charges against a pair of county officials, including Wilcox, in December 2009.
The panel said the charges were brought to embarrass the county officials and the judge who had been at odds with Arpaio and Thomas.
Arpaio and Thomas have defended their actions, saying they were working to root out corruption in county government.
As Lemons observes, the panel recommending Thomas' disbarment perfectly described the pathology of these people -- not just Thomas and his minions, but their whole nutty nativist contingent in Arizona:
"Behind the flimsy fabric of their rationalizations raged apparent unfettered passions that were fueled by a darkness of purpose, blessed by a self-righteous self-centeredness and draped in a disguise of hypocritical indignation. They used a deadly combination of trusting in their ability to sell the vividness of their own imaginations combined with a resolute refusal to look a fact in the face."
That about covers it.