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ELECTION 2018: Background checks reveal court histories for legislative candidates

July 15, 2018

Paul Mosley isn’t the only Mohave County politician with a problematic past. He’s also not the only politician to take advantage of legislative immunity.

Legal searches turned up a history of court activity for all of the Republican House candidates in District 5. In addition to Mosley, they include:

• Regina Cobb, who had to make use of the legislative immunity provision during 2017 hearings related to her divorce;

• Leo Biasiucci, who pled guilty to a felony computer tampering charge in 2009;

• Jennifer Jones-Esposito, who was arrested multiple times while living in Quartzsite on charges that included interfering with government operations, disorderly conduct and zoning code violations.

Paul Mosley

Recently surfaced video shows Mosley apparently bragging during a traffic stop to a La Paz County Sherriff’s deputy about speeding up to 140 miles per hour along Interstate 10 and State Route 95. Mosley, who was stopped by Sgt. Steven Maya on SR 95 near milepost 196 on March 27 for allegedly traveling 97 mph in a 55 mph zone, told the deputy that legislative immunity prevented him from getting a criminal speeding ticket, according to a report of the incident.

Ultimately, the case was forwarded to the Cochise County Attorney’s office for review. Cochise County Attorney Brian M. McIntyre stated Thursday that a complaint has not yet been filed.

Regina Cobb

Cobb, a Republican from Kingman, defended her use of the immunity statute because it allowed her to postpone what might have been a lengthy divorce hearing while the 2017 legislative session was ongoing. Cobb said she asked legislative leadership to send a letter to the judge asking him to delay the hearing until after the legislative session.

“I mean if you’re going to use legislative immunity to get out of an arrest that’s one thing, but if you’re going to use legislative immunity to postpone something until you’re out of session that’s another thing,” she said. “You’re still owning up to it, you’re still coming back to the situation, you’re still going to take care of the situation, it’s just you’re postponing until you’re out of work until you can actually have a more flexible schedule.”

According to court documents related to her 2008 divorce, Cobb filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in July 2011. Court documents show that Michael Cobb attempted to take Regina Cobb back to court in 2016 for money allegedly owed to him in the divorce agreement. Cobb told Today’s News-Herald that, in addition to the recession during that time, she was dealing with other family matters that required her financial support.

“This gave me insight to what struggles everybody has, we all have personal troubles and…what you got to do is say to yourself I’m going to be better than that, I’m going to pick myself up and I’m going to get it taken care of,” Cobb said.

Leo Biasiucci

According to court documents, in 2009, Biasiucci was indicted on two counts of computer tampering, both felonies. Documents show that the then-26-year-old faced a felony. He entered a plea of “guilty per Alford,” which means he was not admitting to the criminal act and asserted his innocence, but acknowledged the evidence presented in court would likely convince a jury of guilt, according to the Mohave County Attorney’s Office. When his probation ended, the charge was downgraded to a class one misdemeanor. Furthermore, in 2012, an application “to vacate judgment of guilt and dismiss charges” submitted by Biasiucci was granted by the court.

“That basically means, in Arizona, he doesn’t have to tell anybody about this,” explained Rod Albright, an attorney with the Mohave County Attorney’s Office. “Obviously you found it through public records, but he doesn’t have to tell like a potential employer that he has this. Now, if there’s ever like a criminal history search or some kind it will show up, but he doesn’t have to mention it in certain circumstances.”

A Lake Havasu City Police report states that on July 22, 2008, Biasiucci was accused of removing a computer program from three computers at the Sands Vacation Resort, erasing all of the resort’s past and future reservations, which “seriously disrupted the business,” the owner at the time reportedly told police. The report states that Biasiucci had been terminated from his position at the Sands Vacation Resort the day prior to the incident.

“Although this happened 10 years ago and the charges were ultimately dismissed, I feel that my local accomplishments outweigh what happened when I was in my early 20s,” Biasiucci wrote in an email to the News-Herald. “Being appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Parks and Rec. Advisory Board, selected as a 2017 Top 30 Under 40 Future Havasu Leader, and now running for the Arizona House of Representatives, proves that I have moved on from this incident and will continue give back to the community that has given me so much.”

Jennifer Jones-Esposito

Jennifer Jones-Esposito told Today’s News-Herald she had been arrested multiple times while living in Quartzsite on charges that included interfering with government operations, disorderly conduct “for giving the finger to a council person outside of a council meeting” and zoning code violations, she stated.

One of her arrests occurred during a June 28, 2011, Quartzsite Town Council meeting was captured on video. The YouTube video shows Jones-Esposito speaking at a podium when the council voted to have her removed by law enforcement. According to the Parker Pioneer, she was injured during the incident and transported to La Paz Regional Hospital for treatment for a sprained elbow.

“I have a perfect record…not a single conviction despite every force of government and all the money and resources at their discretion used against me, not a single conviction,” she said, adding that she’s represented herself in court each time. “So you know, when I tell people I’m qualified to go to Phoenix and read and write (law), I really am because I’ve done it…I know the law better than a lot of people who are tasked with enforcing it.

La Paz County Attorney Tony Rogers referred the News-Herald’s questions regarding Jones-Esposito’s criminal record and history of lawsuits in the county to Chief Deputy County Attorney Karen Hobbs. Hobbs stated in an email that the information was not readily available Friday.

In 2010, Jones-Esposito filed a legal complaint against the Town of Quartzsite for allegedly engaging in illegal conduct and conspiring together to deny her constitutional rights, court documents state. The court ultimately dismissed her complaint in 2011. According to the Parker Pioneer, she filed a similar complaint against the Town of Quartzsite again that year, which was also dismissed.

Jones-Esposito had also filed suit against the Town of Parker in 2014, claiming the town’s then-Magistrate James Putz-Artrup had no authority to issue a warrant to search her property, according to Parker Pioneer. U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice in 2015 and stated that Jones-Esposito could be judged a “frivolous litigant” if she filed future suits, the Parker Pioneer reported.

A search of public records for Mary McCord Robinson was fruitless.

The lone-Democrat candidate claims she has never filed for bankruptcy or has never been arrested.

“Apparently, I’ve lived a pretty boring life,” she said.

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