Mesnard asks for immunity from ousted member’s lawsuit

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Former Rep. Don Shooter makes a point during a speech on the floor of the Arizona State House before the vote to expel him from the chamber on Feb. 1, 2018. (Photo by Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services)
A former House speaker wants the state’s high court to rule that the concept of legislative immunity is so broad that he cannot be sued for defamation by ousted Rep. Don Shooter.
J.D. Mesnard, now a state senator, claims that he is absolutely protected from lawsuits over his decision to release an investigative report of Shooter, which concluded the Yuma Republican was guilty of sexual harassment of others, including lawmakers, lobbyists and even a newspaper publisher. That report became the basis for the 2018 House vote to expel Shooter.
Steve Tully, attorney for the Chandler Republican, said the same is true of Mesnard’s decision to issue a press release explaining his actions.
But Mesnard has so far failed to convince either the trial judge or the state Court of Appeals that the allegations in Shooter’s complaint fit neatly within the areas of legal immunity. Instead they have decided that there should be hearings to explore the issues further
That move not …

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