Lawyers allege FBI agent lied in Horne testimony

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- Lawyers for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and an aide said an FBI agent lied during testimony at a campaign finance hearing and contended the testimony should not be considered.

At issue in the civil case is whether Horne and aide Kathleen Winn had illegal communications about a purportedly independent campaign backing Horne's 2010 election campaign.

Horne and Winn contend they were talking on the phone about a real estate transaction, not an ad planned by the group headed by Winn to target Horne's election opponent.

A motion filed Tuesday by lawyers for Horne and Winn said FBI Agent Brian Grehoski falsely testified last month when he said a real estate agent denied during an FBI interview that Horne consulted Winn on the real estate transaction.

"The statement is certainly relevant to whether or not Kathleen Winn and Tom Horne coordinated the ad" produced by Winn's group because the timing of their calls is an issue in the case, the motion said.

The motion cites phone records, an audio recording and hearing testimony by Grehoski and the real estate agent, Greg Tatham.

The motion asks a state administrative law judge preparing to rule in the case to not consider Grehoski's testimony, whom the motion alleges had an unspecified agenda to target Horne.

FBI spokesman Perryn Collier declined to comment on the allegations when contacted Wednesday by The Associated Press.

Once issued, the judge's ruling will likely not be the end of the case.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk can accept or reject the judge's findings and impose sanctions herself. Polk determined in October that Horne violated the law and must repay $400,000 to donors and pay three times that amount in fines.

Horne and Winn could appeal any decision, dragging any final conclusion into the election season, when Horne faces a challenger in August's Republican primary as he seeks a second term.

If he wins the primary, he'll likely face the same Democrat he narrowly defeated in 2010, Felecia Rotellini, a former prosecutor and bank regulator.

Horne and Winn are accused of working together on a campaign ad targeting Rotellini that was paid for by an independent group Winn was running, Business Leaders for Arizona. Such coordination would be illegal in Arizona.

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