After going ga-ga over the governor's speech, it's time to ask a question that immediately popped into my mind as I read today's paper (while sitting in a chair waiting for find out if I would get picked to serve on a grand jury, ironically).
The reason it's ironic is this: it has to do with a scandal now threatening to envelop Arizona House of Representatives Speaker Jim Weiers. Over the weekend, it was reported that according to a Mesa police report, a man named Brendan Lybarger claimed that the speaker urged him not to contact police after he was molested as a teenager by Arthur Vitasek, a friend of Weiers.
Of course, Weiers denied the allegation.
Today, the Arizona Republic writes that Weiers got hold of Lybarger and obtained a signed and notarized letter from him retracting the allegation.
One of Arizona's most powerful legislators defended himself Monday against accusations that he interfered with a child molestation investigation, producing documents purporting to show that a witness had been lying.
Hours before the state Legislature reconvened Monday, House Speaker Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix, released a hand-written statement reportedly from molestation victim Brendan Lybarger recanting allegations that Weiers told him not to talk to police.
Weiers also released a tape and transcript of a Saturday night telephone conversation in which a man identifying himself as Lybarger says he lied because he was angry about being abused by a friend and employee of Weiers'.
However, Weiers refused to make Lybarger available for an interview, and the letter, which bore a notary seal from Louisiana, could not be independently authenticated.
However, here is the kicker. Later in the article, it says,
Weiers said he will send a copy of the statement to Mesa police. The department is trying to locate Lybarger for a second interview, Sgt. Chuck Trapani said.
So Jim Weiers knows where Lybarger is and can get a notarized letter claiming that he lied to police within twenty-four hours of the original story showing up in the paper, but he isn't willing to share that information with the Mesa police department!
Even if you believe that the letter is genuine and uncoerced, and that Weiers is telling the truth about everything, this would smell like yesterday's garbage. Why would he want to deny police the opportunity to interview a man who could clear him?
Not that it would be the first time that Weiers has failed in his duty as a citizen, apparently believing that helping Arthur Vitasek is more important than helping the police:
On Monday, Weiers also defended his decision not to contact police until investigators called him more than 10 days after an Amber Alert was issued Jan. 22 for Vitasek and his girlfriend's 11-year-old son. The boy was found at a Tempe home.
Weiers' extensive knowledge of Vitasek enabled police to develop a profile of the suspect, and the lawmaker provided more information on Vitasek than any other witness, Trapani said.
Given his present lack of cooperation with the police, even a reasonable person can assume that the Speaker has something to hide. But even if that is not true, it is scary to think that someone with such a complete lack of judgement is leading our legislature.
Republicans. Get into trouble. It's what they do.