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Former Pinal County officials accuse Attorney Kent Volkmer of defamation

(Facebook/Kent Volkmer for Pinal County Attorney)

FLORENCE, Ariz. — Three former county officials are accusing new Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer of defamation.

Ex-Sheriff Paul Babeu, Volkmer’s former Chief of Staff Dwight Fujimoto and Volkmer’s predecessor, Lando Voyles, are also asking for a public apology after Volkmer apparently made defamatory statements about the men and their handling of RICO-seized property while in office.

The letter, which is dated May 1 from Goldman & Zwillinger attorney Marcus A. Kelley, said Volkmer falsely accused the three former county officials of criminal activity.

It said Volkmer’s words about Voyles and Babeu are actual and malice, while Fujimoto’s alleged defamation is objective.

Volkmer said Monday he was surprised by the letter and dismissed the allegations as unfounded.

“My reaction is: This seems like a political stunt,” Volkmer told The Arizona Republic. “I don’t know if they’ve done anything wrong or not. That’s what the FBI and the (Arizona) auditor general are investigating.”

Volkmer added that he has no plans to respond to the letter.

“I don’t know what they want me to retract or apologize for,” he said.

Volkmer confirmed in March that federal authorities were performing a probe into the handling of RICO accounts and expenditures.

“I did not make any statements that accused them of wrongdoing,” Volkmer said Monday. “If they did something wrong, I will not bury it. And if they did nothing wrong, I will make sure everybody knows.”

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