Former state Rep. Don Shooter and his attorneys have filed a notice of claim against the state of Arizona.
He was booted from office last February and the new documents claim his removal violated his rights.
[RELATED: AZ House votes to expel Rep. Don Shooter]
Shooter believes the investigation was rigged against him, saying House Speaker J.D. Mesnard used his own staff instead of an independent counsel.
He wants $1.3 million in damages.
[READ PDF: Notice of claim]
"These are desperate claims by a disgraced, ousted lawmaker, and we dispute them entirely," said Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.
After being expelled from the State House of Representatives, Shooter said he was "free at last" and claimed he was working to uncover potential corruption in the state government. He said he was booted from office because of his investigation and is worried others won't look into the "corrupt culture at the Capitol" because of what happened to him.
The investigation started in October when Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita claimed she was a victim of sexual harassment and later told Dennis Welch that it was Shooter who had harassed her. In the notice of claim, Shooter's lawyers claim the interview was part of an effort to prevent him from continuing his investigation into the state issuing no-bid contracts.
Shooter said in the court documents that Mesnard's office and the Governor's Office teamed up to try and discredit Shooter.
But the harassment allegations grew as a then-publisher of the Arizona Republic newspaper and a number of other women said Shooter subjected them to inappropriate sexual comments or actions.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Politics]
Shooter denied sexual harassment but acknowledged he had made "jarring, insensitive and demeaning" comments but argued that he never sought to touch anyone or have a sexual relationship with them. He asked for the investigation after Ugenti-Rita accused him of propositioning her.
The probe was launched, and the investigative report essentially cleared Ugenti-Rita but found Shooter had engaged in "repeated pervasive conduct (that) created a hostile work environment for his colleagues and those with business before the Legislature." Mesnard initially moved to have him censured, but moved to expel him after Shooter tried to contact a woman involved in the Ugenti-Rita case.
The 56-3 vote for expulsion came after Shooter made an impassioned floor speech where he said he had said and done stupid things but "I stood on the carpet, I took it like a man, I apologized."
At the end of his speech, he held his arm out, dropped the microphone on his desk and walked out. He was one of three lawmakers to vote against his ouster.
The claim filed Monday alleges that his effort to root out procurement fraud got the attention of Ducey chief of staff Kirk Adams in early 2017 and implies without evidence that Adams got a local television reporter to target him. It says Shooter continued his effort to root out fraud and after a Nov. 2 meeting with Adams where he said he would use his subpoena power to get records the sexual harassment claim was filed.
Shooter's claim said the expulsion was meant "only to remove the burr under the Governor's saddle that Representative Shooter had become due to his attempts to uncover evidence of steering, no-bid contracts and other non-competitive procurement processes."
The $1.3 million figure is arbitrary, because no one can sue the state unless a financial claim is rejected. It said he wants the case to go to trial so he can clear his name.
"In his words, he is 'just the boy to do it.' Mr. Shooter has a compelling story to tell, backed up by the evidence," Shooter's attorney Kraig J. Marton wrote. "He looks forward to the process and his opportunity in a setting, that this time, will include his right to due process."
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