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House Ethics Panel to Review Complaint Against Sun

A House ethics panel is set to hold an evidentiary hearing to review a complaint against a Democratic lawmaker accused of harassing and threatening employees with the city of Tolleson and interfering in a child custody dispute.

Ethics Committee members will review the complaint against Rep. Leezah Sun, D-Phoenix, filed on Nov. 3 by House Democratic leaders. A hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. on Dec. 19, according to a letter that was distributed to committee members on Tuesday.

House Democrats filed the complaint after a restraining order was granted against Sun by the employees who alleged she threatened them. The complaint also references a June 16 incident documented by the Maricopa County Superior Court in which Sun interfered with a child custody matter to which she wasn’t a party.

In Sun’s submitted response to the ethics complaint, her attorney Garrick McFadden, denied an allegation that she invoked Attorney General Kris Mayes’ name during the child custody incident and provided an audio recording where she never said Mayes’ name.

The response from Sun concedes she interfered with the custody transfer but notes that she did so because the children were forced to sit in a vehicle during the Arizona heat for over an hour. She said she was there to check on her friends, according to a transcript of the recording provided to the Arizona Capitol Times.

Ethics committee members will review all evidence surrounding the ethics complaint during the evidentiary hearing. Committee Chairman Rep. Joe Chaplik, R-Scottsdale, asked members to also submit a list of witnesses they would like to invite to the hearing who have agreed to testify by Dec. 13.

The court-assigned case supervisor of the child custody incident, Kristyn Alcott, initially alleged that Sun invoked Mayes’ name and interfered in a “hostile, threatening, and intimidating” manner.

Tolleson City Manager Reyes Medrano filed a police report against Sun after a heated meeting between Sun and city officials in May resulted in Medrano and other officials present feeling threatened by Sun, according to the police report.

Sun also allegedly threatened Tolleson Chief Government Affairs Officer Pilar Sinawi’s life during an August League of Arizona Cities and Towns Conference in Tucson by telling another person that she would throw Sinawi off a balcony to “kill her.”

McFadden and Sun denied that Sun made the death threat and her response states Sun said she would have “bitch slapped” Sinawi if she saw her at the conference. They also said the statement is protected hyperbolic speech and Sinawi wasn’t at the conference for the comment to meet the legal standard of a threat.

Sun’s response also argues the Tolleson city employees couldn’t have reasonably been threatened by Sun during the May meeting since she was unarmed and in a government building, outnumbered three-to-one during the meeting. McFadden and Sun also say she never demonstrated any behavior to the employees that would indicate she would become physically violent.

Following news reports of all the incidents involving Sun, she released a statement that said she believes she’s being targeted by Tolleson staff. She and McFadden accused the people who have made allegations against her of submitting “egregious” and “spurious” allegations.

In July, Sun spoke to the Arizona Capitol Times about the meeting she had with Tolleson officials and said she believes she’s being targeted by city officials because they preferred their previous representation from former Democrat Rep. Diego Espinoza.

The complaint against Sun alleges Sun acted in disorderly behavior. Earlier this year, House members censured Rep. Stephanie Stahl-Hamilton, D-Tucson, and expelled former Rep. Liz Harris, a Republican, after members determined both engaged in disorderly behavior in separate incidents.

Source: Azcapitoltimes