The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted to uphold the suspension of County Assessor Paul Petersen Wednesday.
A report by a law firm hired by the county to investigate Petersen's time in office found that:
-- Petersen's computer had "a factory reset or operating system upgrade" done on it the day after he was released from federal custody in October. Resets and upgrades, the report said, can have the effect of "preventing identification of data that existed on the laptop before those events." The resets made it difficult for investigators to determine what was on the laptop.
-- Petersen's laptop contained "several thousand" files related to his private business and other private information. The report also says that information was accessed after his October 28 arrest.
-- The Internet browser history included searches on bing for "uninstall microsoft word," "remove cookies," "uninstall microsoft edge," and "uninstall "Microsoft Word" on November 29 -- four days after the county requested the the laptop be returned.
-- More than 2,580 documents on the laptop were related to Petersen's private business. There were 867 documents involving medical records, 429 documents involving adoption services agreements and 71 documents involving petitions for adoption. Among the documents was a letter to the Indiana Department of Health Services regarding qualification for state Medicaid on behalf of a pregnant mother and multiple bank transfers to Petersen's co-defendant, Lynwood Jennett. There were also tax forms from Petersen's law office to other individuals indicted in the case.
-- Screenshots of text messages from Petersen to some of the pregnant women. One message allegedly said "All you girls work for me, not the other way around" In another message, he threatened to remove his name from a Mesa apartment's lease causing the women to be evicted.
Petersen entered not-guilty pleas to more than five-dozen felony charges in an alleged three-state baby-selling scheme. The indictments were handed down in October.
The board voted to suspend Petersen for 120 days in late October. Petersen has been fighting the suspension, saying he did not neglect his duties.
Petersen receives a $77,000-a-year salary from taxpayers as an elected official.
An investigation released in early December found that there was no evidence that Petersen neglected his duties.
The county board decided differently.
This story is developing.