Maricopa County seeks to fire high-profile prosecutor

March 14, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — The office of the Maricopa county attorney is seeking to fire a homicide prosecutor who won convictions in the Jodi Arias murder case and other notorious killings in Phoenix after he allegedly retaliated against women accusing him of harassment, County Attorney Allister Adel said in a newly obtained letter.

Juan Martinez was accused of filing complaints against two women involved in an internal investigation in late 2017 and 2018 that found Martinez made inappropriate sexual comments to multiple female employees going back a decade.

Martinez’s attorney, Don Wilson, did not immediately respond Saturday to a request for comment on the office’s intent to dismiss Martinez over alleged retaliation against the women.

Martinez has denied the previously reported harassment allegations.

The office placed Martinez on paid administrative leave Feb. 7 and informed him two weeks later that it was going to seek his dismissal.

“Your conduct has created an environment at MCAO that is now impossible to manage effectively,” the office said in a letter obtained by the Arizona Republic and other media outlets. “For example, we must work to keep you away from those you victimized.”

Martinez intends to appeal the firing, Adel said Friday.

“I am committed to following public records laws and demonstrating transparency in the decision making of this office and have provided these documents in support of these ideals,” Adel said in a statement. No additional comment was provided.

Martinez was reassigned last September to handle non-homicide cases, a move that the office said would give Martinez time and flexibility to resolve unrelated, but still-pending ethics allegations against him, officials said.

Allegations of misconduct by Martinez accuse him of leaking a juror’s name in the Arias case to a blogger with whom he was in a sexual relationship and then lying to investigators about it.

Martinez also is accused of staring at a court reporter during Arias trial and making comments about her appearance that made her feel uncomfortable.

Arias is serving a life sentence after her first-degree murder conviction in the 2008 killing of boyfriend Travis Alexander.