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County Attorney Allister Adel announces resignation

The county attorney announced Monday she'll be stepping down as the top prosecutor by the end of this week.

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel announced Monday she's resigning after facing an increasing amount of backlash regarding how she's led the office over the last year. 

In a statement, Adel said she'll officially step down this Friday at 5 p.m.

"I am confident that the important mission of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will continue," the statement reads. "My dedication and service to my community does not end here."

Adel went on to state:

I am proud of the many accomplishments of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office during my tenure, including policies that seek justice in a fair and equitable manner, hold violent offenders accountable, protect the rights of crime victims, and keep families safe.

I want to thank the employees of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. I value and respect the work and dedication you give to this office. Few people genuinely realize, or appreciate, how hard this work is or how committed you are to serving the greater good, but I do.

Thank you to family, friends, colleagues, and voters who have offered their support and encouragement to me, either publicly or privately. Expressing my gratitude will never be sufficient but please know that you have been heard and that I am thankful.

EN ESPAÑOL: Allister Adel anuncia que renunciará a su puesto de fiscal del condado Maricopa

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in an emergency executive session Monday afternoon accepted Adel's resignation in a unanimous vote. 

Board members also called for an election to fill the upcoming vacancy, which will be held during the August Primary Election, as required by law.  The candidate filing deadline is  5 p.m., April 4. 

The Board will appoint a new county attorney to serve in the role until the election.  State law requires this person to be a Republican like Adel. 

Adel was appointed county attorney after her predecessor was picked for a slot on the Arizona Supreme Court. She became the first woman elected to the job in 2020, but her victory was quickly overshadowed by Adel's health struggles.

She underwent emergency surgery in November 2020 for a blood clot in her brain and spent the next few weeks recovering on medical leave from her office.

Adel's problems continued into 2021 after she disclosed she had been undergoing treatment for mental health problems. Her delay in notifying the public about her treatment was questioned by other county leaders, yet Adel claimed her agency's business was continuing uninterrupted. 

High-ranking officials within Adel's office have called for her to resign in recent weeks, claiming Adel's drinking problems had been affecting her work. 

Adel initially pushed back on the allegations and insisted she was fit to continue leading one of the nation's largest prosecutorial agencies. 

But the bad news kept coming. 

This past week, Adel's office admitted it failed to file criminal charges in at least 180 cases before the statute of limitations expired. 

The error has resulted in criticisms from multiple state leaders and an investigation from the State Bar of Arizona. 

MCAO has additionally been scrutinized for its prosecution of Black Lives Matter protestors. Adel chose to dismiss several criminal cases against protestors who had been labeled as gang members after facing questions from the media.

RELATED: 'Your conduct has become a distraction': Maricopa County Attorney's deputies urge her to resign

RELATED: Brnovich demands Allister Adel explain why charges weren't filed

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