Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel discusses allegations, calls to resign

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Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel has been under fire over claims that her alcohol and eating disorders – and her treatment for those disorders – have affected her job performance. Top prosecutors in the County Attorney’s office, along with former County Attorney Rick Romley, have called for Adel to resign. The State Bar of Arizona has launched an investigation into the claims made by the prosecutors.

On Tuesday, we spoke with Allister Adel about claims that she’s lost the trust and confidence of her staff and the public.

You were treated for alcohol use disorders. Are you still in treatment?

“You’re always in treatment; you’re always in recovery. It’s a lifelong journey,” Adel said. “But I’m proud to say that I’m working my program.”

In addition to an alcohol use disorder, Adel is also under treatment for anxiety as well as an eating disorder.

Your treatment, your disorders, how have they affected your job?

“It hasn’t affected my job performance,” Adel said.

In response to allegations that she has been impaired while on the job, Adel said that they were “absolutely false.”

“I take my job duty very, very seriously, so those are absolutely false,” she said. “In fact, I welcome the State Bar’s investigation.”

Why so many absences, why for so long?

“The timeframe around that, it was right around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and family obligations related to Christmas. On top of that, my entire family got COVID, and not at the same time,” Adel said. “And so that took me away quite a bit in January, but I was always available on the phone, through videoconferencing, and I was available despite the fact that I wasn’t always there.”

In their letter urging you to resign, prosecutors said there were “obvious signs of impairment” on the job. Are they wrong?

“They are very wrong. I’d love to see what they’re talking about.” Adel said. “No one has shown me anything, and I’d love for them to point at it because I haven’t been. It’s tough to prove a negative, you know?”

Adel reiterated that she is not going to resign from her position as County Attorney, an elected position from which there are few ways to remove an incumbent prior to an election.

Leave of absence:

“I did. I took time to take care of myself when I sought treatment, to get myself on a good path, and I’m back and I’m healthy, and there’s no need for that at this point because I’m working my program.” Adel said. “I will not be taking a leave of absence; I’ll be doing the job I was elected to do.”

Allister Adel, Maricopa County Attorney

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