Maricopa County Attorney responds to calls for resignation

Allister Adel fired back Tuesday night as controversies swirl at the MCAO


Tony Webster

A sign in downtown Phoenix pointing to the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County.

Allister Adel, the embattled Maricopa County Attorney, has doubled down after five prosecutors in her office called for her to step aside last week.

Northeast Valley News obtained a three-page letter Adel has sent in response to last week’s public appeal for her to resign from her post. Adel, who was appointed Maricopa’s top prosecutor in 2019, is the current focus of several state investigations. In 2020, her office assisted in attempting to frame Black Lives Matter protesters as gang members. Those charges were summarily dismissed, and co-conspirators in the Phoenix Police Department was sanctioned.

“You all have divisions to run that are all facing significant challenges,” Adel wrote on page three. “I need you to focus on your work and your employees and stop trying to dictate and second-guess the way I choose to manage this office and the decisions I make.”

Adel’s letter is the latest escalation in the internal conflict enveloping the County Attorney’s office. The County Attorney herself has drawn intense scrutiny for her behavior, specifically her problems with alcoholism. Adel had a brief stint at an out-of-state treatment facility last summer, and the four-page letter made public last week alleges that she continues to struggle with her sobriety.

Adel is alleged to have made a drunk phone call to a staff member during work hours on Feb. 14, and she is said to have maintained only a sporadic physical presence in the office over recent months.

“The totality of your actions have led to grave concerns with your ability to continue leading the third largest prosecution agency in the country,” the five prosecutors wrote last Tuesday.

In her response this week, Adel forcefully denied that her actions have harmed the County Attorney’s office and suggested any unhappy prosecutors should resign their positions.

“You have stated that you have no confidence in my ability to run this office. If that makes it impossible for you to continue to work here in any capacity, your option is to resign from the office, not to demand my resignation and cast unjustified accusations and innuendo at me,” Adel wrote.