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Maricopa County sheriff questioning County Attorney Allister Adel's 'continued influence' over office while seeking treatment

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone claims he urged the county attorney to be more transparent about her health problems before they were made public last week.

MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. — Editor's note: The video above is from a newscast on Sept. 10. 

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone on Tuesday released a statement questioning Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel's "continued influence" over the office after she said last week she was seeking treatment for mental health.

Penzone claims he urged Adel to be more transparent about her treatment for mental health problems before she went public about her struggles.

Adel said she first checked into an in-person treatment facility on Aug. 29 and was transferred to another facility in California the following week to seek help for anxiety, an eating disorder and alcohol abuse, seven months after she returned to work following two brain surgeries.

Adel's office didn't reveal she was undergoing treatment until the afternoon of Sept. 10. 

Penzone said he found out about Adel's treatment on Sept. 9 from another elected official in Maricopa County and contacted Adel's staff to inquire about her condition 

"I expressed both support and concern regarding her well-being," Penzone said. "I also questioned the appropriateness of continued influence over the office while in recovery."

Penzone, a Democrat, said he recommended Adel take a leave of absence and issue a public statement about her ongoing treatment.

The sheriff said he additionally urged Adel to inform the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors about her situation. 

Adel, a Republican, claims she notified the board before issuing a public statement on Sept. 10. Her decision to go public nearly two weeks after starting treatment, Adel claimed, was done to dispel "rumors" that began circulating around the county.

"The focus shouldn’t be on the timing of the announcement but rather on the fact that there should be no shame in being honest about this issue," Adel said.

Adel, who runs one of the largest prosecutorial agencies in the country, said she was primarily focused on her recovery during the first couple weeks of her treatment.

"I was taking guidance from a professional medical team as to when the announcement would be most appropriate based on what is best for me, my family, and my recovery," the county attorney said. 

Adel said she continues to have daily contact with her staff to ensure the office continues getting its work done. 

RELATED: County Attorney Allister Adel seeking treatment for alcohol abuse, eating disorder

RELATED: County's top prosecutor reveals doctors feared she might not survive after brain surgery

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