PHOENIX, NOV. 18 -- A judge ruled today there would be no conflict of interest if the state attorney general continued his grand jury investigation of alleged improprieties by Gov. Evan Mecham.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Ryan said Attorney General Bob Corbin could investigate an alleged secret $350,000 campaign loan to Mecham in violation of state law.
The first-term Republican governor has denied any intentional wrongdoing.
In addition to the grand jury investigation, Mecham is the subject of a recall drive, possible impeachment and calls for his resignation.
Ryan's decision came after a morning session of fiery rhetoric in open court, followed by nearly three hours of talks in the judge's chambers.
Mecham's attorney, Murray Miller, had been trying to oust Corbin, claiming the attorney general's role in the probe was a violation of the traditional confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship.
Miller said that "confidences" concerning the loan had been exchanged between Mecham and Corbin.
Under the Arizona constitution, the attorney general represents the public, but also acts as legal counsel to the governor.
Chief Assistant Attorney General Steve Twist said Miller's evidence to the court was "a bunch of frivolous, baseless irrelevancies."