PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel is adamantly refuting claims made by her office's top prosecutors that she's unfit to lead one of the nation's largest prosecutorial agencies.
Last week, five senior members of Adel's office wrote her a letter suggesting her conduct had "become a distraction" and called for Adel to resign.
They indicated Adel had been acting unethically and worried Adel's sobriety issues were affecting her work.
But in a letter written Tuesday to the staff members, Adel insists she's committed no wrongdoing and rejected their allegations of unethical behavior.
"I have not practiced law while under the influence of any substance," Adel wrote in the letter.
Adel was forced to publicly disclose last year she had been begun to seek treatment for dependency anxiety, alcohol abuse, and an eating disorder.
In Tuesday's letter, Adel insists her mental health issues have not distracted her from her professional obligations and disputed suggestions that her absence from the office was a sign of incompetence.
"I do not need to physically be in the office to run the office and do my job," she wrote in the letter.
Adel further criticized her top deputies for implying it was unethical for her to work remotely from the office.
"...it certainly was not unethical for me to conduct business off-site -- as many in this office, including most of you, regularly do when teleworking," Adel wrote.
Adel additionally lambasts her staff for allegedly not asking her to resign during one-on-one meetings she had with them in early February -- before the five top prosecutors wrote their letter to Adel.
The county attorney reminded the staff that she's elected by the voters and does not have to explain her reasoning to any of them.
"I do not owe you explanations or justifications for my decisions and not providing them to your satisfaction is not unethical," she wrote.
Adel indicated that if her staff have a problem with how she runs the office, then they have the option to resign.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors held a private meeting Tuesday regarding the county attorney.
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