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Arizona Attorney General Horne’s lawyers grill FBI agent

PHOENIX — An FBI agent who led a criminal investigation into possible
campaign-finance violations by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne acknowledged
Tuesday that he collected no direct evidence that Horne conspired with an aide
to sidestep state campaign finance laws.

But FBI agent Brian Grehoski has already testified in a civil case that a
series of interviews, emails and phone records led him to believe Horne and aide
Kathleen Winn sidestepped campaign laws barring outside groups from coordinating
election efforts with those of candidates.

Grehoski was grilled for hours Tuesday morning by Winn attorney Larry Debus,
who also asked an administrative law judge to throw out the agent’s testimony
because he refused to discussed a parallel criminal case he pursued against
Horne. Grehoski said Tuesday that case technically remains open, although the
U.S. Attorney declined to file charges.

Horne and Winn denied the civil allegation of illegal campaign coordination
brought by the Yavapai County Attorney in October. Both are expected to testify
in the hearing underway before a judge from the Arizona Office of Administrative
Hearings.

Winn’s lawyer, Larry Debus, made it clear Tuesday that he was preparing for an
appeal if Horne and Winn are found to have violated the law. He also provided
Judge Tammy Eigenheer with previous appeals-court decisions to back his request
for the agent’s testimony to be barred.

“I understand this is all complicated by the other investigation that was
going on, the dual nature,” Eigenheer said before deciding to allow Grehoski to
continue testifying.

Tuesday’s testimony made clear what Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Benjamin
Kreutzberg said in his opening statement Monday: the case against the pair is
purely circumstantial.

Winn was a volunteer for Horne for most of 2010, before forming an independent
group weeks before the election, collecting more than $500,000 from donors and
launching an attack ad against Horne’s Democratic opponent in the November
general election.

She is accused of speaking with Horne about that effort and passing on his
advice about a television ad to her campaign consultant.

That “coordination” is illegal in Arizona, and Kreutzberg said Monday that
interviews and telephone, email and other records gathered during the FBI
investigation will prove it.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk determined in October that Horne violated
the law and must repay $400,000 to donors and pay three times that amount in
fines.

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