State Offers Unusual Defense To Jeffries, Loftus Defamation Lawsuits

On November 15, 2017, the private law firm of Cohen Dowd Quigley representing the State of Arizona made a motion to dismiss the libel and defamation lawsuits filed by former DES Director Timothy Jeffries and former DES Chief Investigator Charles Loftus, claiming in part that the DPS audit of DES found no wrongdoing by Jeffries or Loftus, and therefore, no claim of libel or defamation could be made. This unusual legal argument begs the question: if they did nothing wrong then why were they fired?

It is widely believed that Governor Doug Ducey’s dismissal of Jeffries and Loftus was politically motivated because Jeffries’ team was investigating large dollar pork programs operated by persons with ties to the Governor’s Office.

In late November, 2016, Jeffries and Loftus were fired and escorted out of the DES building by members of the DPS SWAT team. At the time, neither Jeffries nor Loftus were given a reason for their terminations.  However, the Governor’s Office immediately began publicly accusing DES of stockpiling immense troves of weapons and ammunition intimating that Jeffries was attempting to start his own armed militia.

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Though a public records request was made by Arizona Republic reporter Craig Harris four days after Jeffries and Loftus were dismissed, DPS and the Governor’s Office took over nine months to release information related to their termination.  Included in the documents later released to ADI was an official memo (“reasoned evaluation”) drafted by DPS training professionals and senior managers.  DPS reported the amount of ammunition DES had procured was barely sufficient, and in fact, was deficient because “a reasonable agency’s training section would carry at least two years of ammunition supply to offset any delays in ordering of duty or practice ammo.  (AZDPS encountered this problem with duty ammunition in FY14 having to wait 18 months to have duty ammunition orders filled).”

Apparently, this information was never relayed to Craig Harris as the General Counsel for DPS Anni Foster asked Daniel Scarpinato, who is a public relations official with the Governor’s Office, “Daniel, Here is the information to answer Craig’s question below. Please let me know if you want us to answer – we would not be providing this much information.” 

It is evident that by early December 2016, the Governor’s Office and DPS knew the ammunition story was akin to Susan Rice’s claim an anti-Muslim video caused the Benghazi attacks.  Nonetheless, the Governor’s Office continued to press the guns and ammo story forward.

Strangely, the DPS Audit report by DPS Inspector Chris Lupkin six months later never included any of this information by DPS the training staff and was not included in the final report.

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