PHOENIX, FEB. 27 -- Two days before the scheduled start of his Senate impeachment trial, Gov. Evan Mecham (R) said he was preparing to ask a federal court to halt it, saying he feared his constitutional rights would be trampled in "a lynch-mob atmosphere."
"As governor of this state I ask nothing more than is accorded to any garden variety criminal," the first-term executive said at a news conference.
The Senate is scheduled to begin his impeachment trial Monday morning, and Mecham said he and his two new attorneys, Thomas Crowe and Jerris Leonard, were prepared to be there if no court ordered the trial halted before- hand.
The state Supreme Court refused Friday to grant a temporary stay and said it would decide Tuesday whether the impeachment trial should be delayed until after Mecham's March 22 criminal trial on charges of concealing a $350,000 campaign loan. Mecham also faces a May 17 recall election.
Mecham was impeached Feb. 5 and later was charged with concealing a $350,000 loan to his 1986 campaign; misusing $80,000 from the governor's protocol fund by lending it to his auto dealership, and trying to thwart investigation of an alleged death threat by a state official.