Investigators recommend ouster of Ariz. legislator

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- The special counsel to the Arizona House Ethics Committee is recommending embattled Tucson Democrat Daniel Patterson be expelled from the Arizona House of Representatives.

In a scathing 32 page report, investigators said Patterson "routinely verbally abuses, assaults and harasses his colleagues, legislative staff and lobbyists."

The report also claims that Patterson "admitted to staff that he frequently smokes marijuana and that he allegedly made an offer to a lobbyist to trade his vote for sex."

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell says he wants Patterson to resign Tuesday, "If he doesn't the House should take steps to immediately expel him," said Campbell.

Pattersons' fellow Democrats filed an ethics complaint against him last month after he became involved in a case of domestic violence involving his former girlfriend Georgette Escobar.

She told Tucson police that Patterson grabbed her and threw her to the ground.

Eight days ago on Facebook, apparently Escobar recanted saying she had been under a great deal of stress and that Pattterson never struck her.

The special counsel's report, however, says there is evidence that indicates Patterson forced, forged or coerced Escobar to recant. 

But Escobar has told Capitol Media Services that she recanted after "meditation" and that the ethics committee investigation was nothing more than a "witch hunt."

On Twitter Patterson said the report had a "pre-determined outcome; based on lies and slams by politicians, lobbyists and lawyers and not views of my constituents."

Patterson has been given until April 16 to respond.

But minority leader Campbell may seek a vote of the full house as early as Tuesday morning.

Campbell says, at the very least, Patterson should be kept away from staff, lobbyists and fellow lawmakers.

He says there are many people who are afraid and uncomfortable around the lawmaker who is said to unpredictable.