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Maricopa attorney not balking at $2M Jodi Arias defense cost

PHOENIX — The attorney for Maricopa County said it is not surprising the defense for convicted killer Jodi Arias has hit the $2 million mark.

“Let’s be clear that the $2 million to date is for her defense, not for the prosecution,” Bill Montgomery said Tuesday, the day Arias’ retrial in the penalty phase resumed.

The prosecution’s cost have not been released.

While a court order prevents him from talking about Arias’ case specifically, Montgomery said defendants like her have the right to have their court-appointed attorneys defend them to the fullest.

“There is still a requisite responsibility on the part of defense council to present the best defense available,” he said. “If a defendant does want to present a defense that requires the use of experts, they’re going to retain those experts.”

Montgomery said a case doesn’t necessarily cost taxpayers more when the prosecution seeks the death penalty instead of life in prison.

“You have to keep in mind that those costs could have been incurred anyway,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a fair conclusion at this point to suggest that, had a different penalty been sought, there would have been a cost savings accordingly.”