WILLCOX, ARIZ., FEB. 6 -- Impeached Gov. Evan Mecham (R) said today that his lawyer will tear his accusers "to bits" during his trial in the state Senate and that he still is not sure who is entitled to act as governor for now.

Mecham, 63, impeached by an overwhelming House vote Friday, told a friendly Town Hall audience he believed House members wanted to impeach him because they thought he would win his May 17 recall election.

The governor said House members also "know darn well that the {criminal} court isn't going to convict me on the trumped-up charges" of concealing a $350,000 campaign loan. The governor is scheduled for trial this spring on six felony charges including fraud, perjury and filing false documents.

Mecham was the target of a recall election drive even before he took office on Jan. 5, 1987, and has angered many in the state with remarks about blacks, homosexuals, women and others. Most recently, he was criticized for saying that when he told some Japanese golf enthusiasts that Arizona has hundreds of golf courses, "suddenly they got round eyes."

In Willcox today, he said he described the incident later to some Japanese friends and they found nothing wrong with it. "In fact, some of them are having plastic surgery -- not here, over there."

Later, in the nearby retirement community of Sunsites, Mecham said he thinks that people are more aware of how easy it is "for people in government to pull the wool over your eyes," an apparent reference to his opponents.

But he said that if elected officials don't do their jobs right, "you can nail their shoes to the floor."

At a stop in Benson, Mecham told a crowd of about 100, "I hope you work on intimidating your representatives."

Secretary of State Rose Mofford, a Democrat, became acting governor as soon as the House passed the impeachment resolution Friday, state Attorney General Bob Corbin, a Republican, said today.

But Mofford has hesitated to declare herself acting governor, and Mecham told the Willcox Town Hall gathering he wants to have a meeting Monday to settle the issue.

Arizona's constitution requires the secretary of state to become acting governor while the governor stands trial in the Senate. But under state law, other impeached public officers keep their jobs while on impeachment trial. Corbin said the constitution always takes precedence over a law.

Mofford's spokeswoman, Athia Hardt, said Mofford is not yet considering herself acting governor and is spending the weekend "thinking a lot and meeting with advisers."

Mofford may put some of Mecham's top administrative staff on paid leave to bring in her staff, Hardt said. It is uncertain how soon the acting governor will take over Mecham's offices, Hardt said.

If Mecham declines to turn the governorship over to Mofford, Corbin said the issue almost certainly will go to the Arizona Supreme Court. The attorney general said his office has drafted court papers in case the issue comes up.

"Monday's a holiday. If he comes in to work Tuesday morning then we have to file," Corbin said. Monday is Lincoln Day in Arizona, and state offices are closed. The legislature, however, will be in session.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the House planned to meet through the weekend to outline the expected 15 to 20 specific charges against Mecham. A vote is expected Monday, and the Senate may begin organizing as an impeachment court Thursday. A trial could begin this month.

"I think cross-examination {by Mecham's attorney, Murray Miller} will tear 'em to bits" during the Senate trial, the governor said.

House special counsel William French has accused the governor of concealing the $350,000 loan, misusing $80,000 from the governor's protocol fund by lending it to his auto dealership and trying to thwart an investigation of an alleged death threat by a state official. Mecham has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.