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Board moves to suspend Arizona official in smuggling case

Posted at 1:19 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 16:19:13-04

PHOENIX (AP) - The governing board in Arizona's most populous county is taking steps to suspend an elected official accused of running a human smuggling scheme.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to notify Assessor Paul Petersen that it plans to consider suspending him for up to 120 days. The board is required to give Petersen five days' notice. It can't remove him from office and he's refused to resign.

Board members say Petersen can't perform his duties from jail, and auditors have found documents related to his adoption business on his county computer.

Prosecutors say Petersen illegally paid women from the Marshall Islands to have their babies in the United States and give them up for adoption. Petersen former lawyer has denied that Petersen's adoption business broke the law.