Shooter lawsuit filled with salacious details, accusations

128. No explanation has been given for considering alleged conduct from prior legislative terms, most alleged to have occurred while Representative Shooter was serving in the Senate, using rules only created after the allegations were made and which, again, were never authorized by elected members of the House as was expressly required for enforcement, according to existing House Rule.

129. The selective enforcement of Mesnard’s unauthorized, newly created policy combined with the intentional exclusion of exculpatory evidence directly resulted in the conclusions by the independent investigators, using employment law terminology yet with an infinitely lower, subjective standard than would be applied under employment law, that Mr. Shooter’s conduct (without the opportunity to address factual and legal inaccuracies as promised and required) created a “hostile work environment”, was the core rationale used to justify his expulsion.

130. Moreover, if Mesnard’s newly created policy had been applied to Mesnard’s own conduct, he would have been in direct violation of his retroactive policy. Mesnard commenced a romantic relationship with a state agency’s “legislative liaison” at the time she was lobbying him. He voted on her legislation without recusing himself on votes affecting her agency. On more than one occasion, Mesnard accompanied his paramour to hearings and sat with her in the audience, visible to all legislative members of the committees, when his paramour testified on legislation affecting her agency.

131. If the existing, appropriate House and Senate policies at the time had been applied, which evaluated conduct using the employment law legal standard, Mr. Shooter would have been found to have made offensive attempts at humor, in instances one time in front of separate individuals, but not to have created a hostile work environment.

132. Without due process, Mr. Shooter’s peer legislators were denied the time, opportunity and information to objectively evaluate the facts, evidence and appropriate policies nor hear Mr. Shooter’s responses and rebuttals.

133. These breaches of specific House Rules and parliamentary and procedural tradition and expectations violated the basic rights owed to Mr. Shooter, as a citizen, and as a duly-elected member of the Arizona House of Representatives and owed to the people of his legislative district who elected him.

134. These extraordinary measures were undertaken to prevent Representative Shooter from issuing subpoenas and thereby making evident, high-level corruption.

G. Independent Investigator’s Report was Materially Modified

135. The independent investigators’ report contains voluminous discussion regarding various allegations against Representative Shooter. In fact, some 65 pages of the 75 pages of the investigative report were dedicated to the investigation into claims made against Mr. Shooter, including interviews with numerous witnesses and in some instances, where their allegations were found to be demonstrably false.

136. According to the report, a majority of the claims against Mr. Shooter were found not to constitute sexual harassment even under the Speaker’s specially created, strict “zero tolerance” standard.

137. By contrast, the report contains only a page and a half directed to allegations against Representative Ugenti-Rita and concludes, without facts or analysis, that there is “no credible evidence” that she violated the Policy.

138. This finding, despite the fact that a known victim of repeated sexual harassment by Representative Ugenti-Rita came forward to the independent investigators and provided her testimony, physical evidence and corroborating, contemporaneous witnesses to the sexual harassment is dubious.

139. The testimony and evidence of sexual misconduct by Ugenti-Rita was far more egregious than any allegation against Mr. Shooter yet were intentionally excluded from the final and public report.

140. The Speaker caused the credible testimony of Ugenti-Rita’s victim and her two corroborating, contemporaneous witnesses as well as the physical evidence to be excluded from the publicly released version of the report.

141. There was no attempt to discipline or otherwise censure Representative Ugenti-Rita, as the Speaker’s objective was, in concert with the Governor’s Chief of Staff Kirk Adams, in collaboration with another member of the Governor’s staff, only to end Representative Shooter’s attempts to uncover evidence of corruption related to high priced no-bid contracts and other non-competitive procurement processes.

H. The Independent Investigator’s Report Was Not Independent

142. At the conclusion of the independent investigation, the results were initially withheld from the public and Mr. Shooter. The Speaker received a copy of the independent investigator’s report approximately nine days before he released the version of the report he deemed final to the public.

143. The direct testimony of a victim of sexual harassment by Representative Ugenti-Rita and supporting witness testimony and evidence were intentionally excluded from the report that was released to Mr. Shooter and the public.

144. When witnesses were interviewed by the independent investigators Morgan and Hesketh, witnesses were told expressly, that their statements and the information obtained in their interviews were not protected.

145. There are numerous citations in the report to interviews with anonymous “Interviewees” and to notes, photos, and other evidence that have never been provided to Representative Shooter despite repeated requests.

146. The decision to exclude exculpatory witness testimony and related evidence had a deleterious impact on Representative Shooter’s ability to respond to the charges and to challenge the credibility of his accuser, Representative Ugenti-Rita.

147. The Speaker has refused to release evidence, obtained and documented by the independent investigator, of wrong doing by Ugenti-Rita despite the fact that the investigation and evidence was obtained on behalf of the House of Representatives with the use of Arizona tax dollars in an effort for alleged transparency and fairness to the public. To date, Mesnard has authorized payments totaling over $250,000 to the investigators to meet with witnesses, document, make revisions and now recent efforts to stymie requests for the release of all relevant and materially related testimony.

148. Considerable information was not available to the general public or to members of the House of Representatives at the time that the report was released.

Material information was not made available to House members at the time of Mesnard’s motion and the House vote to remove Representative Shooter from elected office.

149. A month after the vote to expel Mr. Shooter, Mesnard, after repeated requests by media under public records law, released an additional 340 pages of documents, related solely to the investigation of Mr. Shooter yet nothing related to claims against Representative Ugenti-Rita (on March 16, 2018).

150. The victim testimony, testimony from two additional, contemporaneous witnesses and physical evidence, obtained by the independent investigator, that directly relates to the credibility of Ugenti-Rita who announced on Facebook and on television that she was victimized, and on information, exculpatory information known to the independent investigators was (and remains) hidden from the public intentionally so as to not impede the plan set in motion to destroy his reputation and immediately expel Representative Shooter.

151. Though, Mr. Shooter is aware that the investigation received or had access to photographs of a private nature, at no time has he sought to obtain such photographs nor make the photographs public.

152. Although, according to the Report, there were “interviews with over 40 individuals” (p. 3 of the report), the House and Sherman & Howard has refused to provide even the identity of those witnesses.

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