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Arias prosecutor faces firing over fears he'll retaliate against female colleagues

Juan Martinez has filed an appeal of firing by county attorney. Supervisor says, "We must work to keep you away from those you victimized."

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel is taking steps to fire Jodi Arias prosecutor Juan Martinez after a top deputy concluded that despite a reprimand for sexually harassing women in his office, Martinez’s predatory behavior had continued.

“Your conduct has created an environment that is impossible to manage,” Chief Deputy Prosecutor Ken Vick said in a five-page letter to Martinez Feb. 7, which was obtained by 12 News under a public records request.

“We must work to keep you away from those you victimized.”

Martinez was the target of an ethics complaint last year alleging that several female employees in the County Attorney’s Office compiled a "JM shit list" of his sexually predatory conduct. Female employees said they would avoid Martinez in the office by hiding in a bathroom or ducking into a cubicle.

Martinez, who has worked for the county attorney’s office for three decades, was fired on February 21 but filed an appeal March 2, under his civil service protections.

“This office is unable to provide any additional comment on the dismissal at this time,” Adel, a Republican who was appointed county attorney last year, said in a prepared statement.

“I am committed to following public records laws and demonstrating transparency in the decision making of this office and have provided these documents in support of these ideals.”

State Bar investigators are seeking an ethics trial on the allegations by county attorney’s office employees. The Arizona Supreme Court will consider the request in April.

The Vick letter says Martinez’s behavior continued into late 2019, after he received a reprimand for sexual harassment from former Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

“It is now clear to me that it is impossible to protect the victims from further mistreatment, the appearance of harassment, the fear of harassment or retaliation when they interact with you,” Vick wrote.

Martinez also faces an ethics trial later this year on State Bar charges alleging that he:

- Leaked confidential information on the Arias trial to trial blogger Jennifer Wood.

- Lied to State Bar investigators about his sexual relationship with Wood.

- Made sexually suggestive remarks to a Maricopa County courts employee.

The sensational Jodi Arias murder trial transformed Martinez, a deputy prosecutor in the County Attorney's Office, into an international celebrity.

Arias was charged with the gruesome murder of her ex-boyfriend and is currently serving a life sentence. She was spared the death penalty by one holdout juror.

The Arizona Court of Appeals is considering whether to toss out the Arias guilty verdict in part because of Martinez’s courtroom behavior.

Martinez’s long history of ethics complaints have cost county taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars to pay his legal fees.

“Your work in the courtroom over the years has been very successful and has brought many offenders to justice,” Vick wrote.

“It’s unfortunate that your work in the office can no longer continue due to your harassment of your female colleagues and your unwillingness to correct the behavior that was brought to your attention many years ago.”

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