Arizona lawmaker charged with assault, endangerment

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 10, 2011 9:18 PM
Arizona lawmaker charged with assault, endangerment

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona lawmaker has been charged with reckless assault and endangerment in a February altercation with his then-girlfriend, prosecutors said on Friday.

Phoenix prosecutors said Scott Bundgaard, a Republican and the former majority leader of the Arizona state senate, faces up to 10 months in jail if he is found guilty of the two misdemeanor charges.

Bundgaard, 43, has already been stripped of his No. 2 post in the chamber over the February 25 incident.

Mark Goldman, Bundgaard's attorney, called the city's charges and the investigation "reckless" and said the lawmaker will be cleared.

"Charging Scott with two misdemeanors makes it obvious they have no case and are merely trying to justify whatever time they spent," Goldman said in a written statement.

Police said they were called to the scene, a parked car along a state highway, and found Bundgaard and then-girlfriend Aubry Ballard with marks on their bodies indicating a physical confrontation.

Both were detained but Bundgaard was released after police said he invoked legislative immunity, which allows lawmakers to be exempt from arrest while in session.

Bundgaard and Ballard gave conflicting versions about what happened that night.

The Arizona senator was co-sponsor of controversial Arizona state legislation seeking to challenge the right to U.S. citizenship for children born in the state whose parents are illegal immigrants or other noncitizens.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Jerry Norton)