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Judge reduces bail for Arizona official charged in 3 states

Posted at 12:31 PM, Oct 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-26 15:31:08-04

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah judge has reduced the bail for an Arizona county elected official charged in an alleged human smuggling scheme involving pregnant women.

The Deseret News reports that a district judge Friday reduced Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petesen's bail to $150,000 from $3 million.

Charges against Petersen in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah include human smuggling, sale of a child, fraud, forgery and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Petersen is in federal custody in Arizona, and his Utah attorney, Scott Williams, had said the federal court wouldn't hold a detention hearing in Arkansas for Petersen until the Utah bail issue is resolved.

Authorities allege women were brought to the U.S. from the Marshall Islands to give birth for adoptions.

His now-former lawyer has denied the Petersen's adoption business broke the law.