The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office followed standard practice in a grand jury investigation of a local weekly newspaper, prosecutors told the court on Wednesday.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Anna Baca had questioned why certain documents in the file were missing, including original subpoenas. She set a hearing for Monday in the case involving New Times.
But prosecutors said that submitting copies, not originals, of subpoenas and other grand jury documents to the court is standard procedure. There were copies in the file, prosecutors said.
On Wednesday, prosecutors filed a document that indicates how grand jury files are kept — one original subpoena goes to its recipient, and the county attorney’s office keeps the other.
The court gets a copy, wrote Deputy County Attorney Sally Wells.
The issue is one of the last loose strings relating to the investigation of New Times by the Maricopa County attorney and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Secret documents related to the investigation were made public in a New Times cover story last month — the county attorney had sought reporters’ notes and information about the paper’s Internet users, among other documents.
County Attorney Andrew Thomas discontinued the investigation shortly after the arrests and one-night jailing of New Times’ executive editor and CEO on suspicion of violating grand jury secrecy. Thomas cited “serious missteps” in the investigation.