Arizona’s Maricopa County Republican Party chairman is being sued for defamation after falsifying a voter fraud story in an attempt to harass a Latino voter outreach group. A.J. LaFaro accused Citizens for a Better Arizona of “stuffing the ballot box” when a representative, Ben Marin, dropped off ballots the group collected — an entirely legal practice — and called Marin a “violent thug.”
Attorney Alexander Kolodin, who is representing Marin and CBA in the lawsuit, said that the accusations are “not only untrue but really virulent.” The alleged fraud, according to a blog post, occurred between 12:54 pm and 1:04 pm on August 25. While the video provides no evidence of the alleged conversation, LaFaro says this was what transpired:
I was seated at one of the cubicles in the outer foyer of the Maricopa County Elections MCTEC Facility facing the protected reception area. The main entry to the foyer and facility was behind me to the right. At approximately 12:55pm, I heard a loud thud behind me and turned around to see what was going on. A person wearing a Citizens for a Better Arizona (CBA) t-shirt dropped a large box of hundreds of early ballots on the table and started stuffing the ballot box as I watched in amazement.
The following dialog occurred:
Person from CBA: “What’s your problem?”
A. J. LaFaro: “I don’t have a problem.”
Person from CBA: “Stop watching me. You’re annoying me.”
I continued to watch.
A. J. LaFaro: “One of your ballots isn’t sealed.”
Person from CBA: “It’s none of your business. What’s your name?”
A. J. LaFaro: “I’m the Chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party. What’s yours?”
Person from CBA: “Go fuck yourself! I don’t have to tell you who I am.”
He continued to stuff the ballot box and took a photo of several ballots that he staged in the slot of the ballot box. He hid behind the ballot box and table as he slipped the unsealed ballot into his brief and left. He came back with the unsealed ballot that he sealed outside and dropped in the ballot box.
As he was leaving, he said, “Go fuck yourself gringo.”
I don’t know if that person in the video is an illegal alien, a dreamer or a citizen. What I do know is that he was a vulgar, disrespectful, violent thug who has no respect for our laws. I would have followed him to the parking lot to take down his tag number, but I feared for my life.
“Let’s not forget the “ballot parties” that occur where people gather en masse and give their unvoted ballots to operatives of organizations like Citizens for a Better Arizona so they can not only collect them but vote them illegally. America used to be a nation of laws where one person had one vote. I’m sad to say not anymore,” he added.
After LaFaro’s baseless accusations went viral, leading to death threats and harassment, the group demanded an apology from LaFaro. However, he refused to apologize for knowingly wronging the group. Instead, he doubled down in a statement which read, in part:
“Today, Randy Parazz with Citizens for A Better Arizona (CBA) called for my apology and resignation as Chairman of the Maricopa County GOP due to the fact that I had the courage to expose CBA’s ballot harvesting practices to the world. Once again, Mr. Parraz is attempting to shift attention away from his group and their questionable practices while attacking a conservative.
“I find CBA’s press release to be hypocritical, baseless and without merit. If anyone should be apologizing, it should be Mr. Marin to me for his vicious and vulgar verbal attack while he was stuffing a polling place receptacle with ballots.”
According to the Phoenix New Times, CBA is seeking damages for the volunteer’s “negatively impacted career prospects,” as a simply Google search will pull up numerous accusations that he is a “violent thug,” as well as false accusations that Marin was abusive when he told LaFaro to leave him alone. “Then the other aspect of damages is the damages for the mental anguish he’s going through,” Kolodin says. “He’s gotten death threats — he fears for his life.”
The group says that, because of the accusations, canvassers have been harassed. One person even called the police, landing the worker in the back of a police car until the situation could be sorted out.
You can read the lawsuit, below: