AP NEWS

Judge reduces bail for Arizona official charged in 3 states

October 26, 2019 GMT
FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office shows County Assessor Paul Petersen, who has been indicted in an adoption fraud case. Petersen is accused of arranging for dozens of pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to come to the U.S. to give their children up for adoption. Utah also has charged him with 11 felony counts, including human smuggling, sale of a child and communications fraud. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday, Oct. 23, to notify Petersen that it plans to consider suspending him for up to 120 days. It can't remove him from office and he's refused to resign. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office shows County Assessor Paul Petersen, who has been indicted in an adoption fraud case. Petersen is accused of arranging for dozens of pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to come to the U.S. to give their children up for adoption. Utah also has charged him with 11 felony counts, including human smuggling, sale of a child and communications fraud. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday, Oct. 23, to notify Petersen that it plans to consider suspending him for up to 120 days. It can't remove him from office and he's refused to resign. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

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.