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Judge Rules Ex-Arizona Rep. Don Shooter Has No Right To See Investigative Report

Don Shooter
handout | agency
Don Shooter.

Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter has no legal right to see investigator notes and interviews into sexual harassment charges that led to his removal from office.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Bruce Cohen ruled the final 82 page report is protected by attorney-client privilege.

Shooter wants the documents to defend himself in a civil lawsuit filed by one of his accusers, Rep. Michele Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale.

Her lawsuit charges Shooter of slander, libel, battery and negligence, which he has countered with defamation charges.

His attorney, Kraig Marton, claims the notes and interviews of about 40 witnesses conducted by House investigators into the original sexual harassment case could help Shooter clear his name.

But Judge Cohen ruled those notes belong to the House and neither the House members nor Speaker of the House, J.D. Mesnard, are parties in the civil suit.

During the internal investigation, Shooter purported that his accuser had harassed a colleague and that those details were purposely omitted by the Speaker from the report.

Investigators had determined Ugenti-Rita's former fiance was responsible for the unsolicited messages, not her.

Nevertheless, Shooter read from his prepared statement.

"The evidence we seek, already provided by the victim to the state's investigator, would shed light on my accuser's lack of truthfulness, bad character," Shooter read from his prepared statement.

Shooter also took a shot at Mesnard, calling him a "corrupt man in power," for removing the allegations against Ugenti-Rita from the report.

Mesnard told Capitol Media Services he will not comment while a lawsuit is pending.

Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.