PHOENIX — The Maricopa County board held a hearing Wednesday on County Assessor Paul Petersen's appeal of a four-month unpaid suspension imposed by the board.
Petersen has entered not-guilty pleas to more than five-dozen felony charges in an alleged three-state baby-selling scheme.
The hearing was held as negotiations continue regarding Petersen resigning in exchange for a portion of his pay and benefits.
There's no reason to believe the county board that imposed the suspension heard anything to change its mind Wednesday.
Just remember, we are all paying for this. Whether it's the $77,000-a-year salary Petersen is trying to claw back or the $500-an-hour county lawyers whose job is making sure he doesn't.
Petersen didn't show up to the hearing Wednesday.
The county's hired lawyer John Doran wanted to interrogate Petersen about the county board's reasons for his suspension. Which includes using county property for his adoption business and his four-week absence after being charged with more than 60 felonies in an alleged baby-selling scheme.
"Paul wasn't here today because his criminal lawyer wants to save his testimony for the criminal trials," Doran said.
Petersen's attorney Kory Langhofer had held his tongue during the hearing, a process he had described as a Soviet show trial. But he unloaded afterward and most of it was aimed at Doran.
"We owe them the courtesy of suspending disbelief, not calling them names in this proceeding and presenting our case. That wasn't possible because of the way John Doran was acting so we're done," Langhofer said.