A Mesa military man has admitted to falsifying deployment orders to postpone his trial on drunken-driving charges, according to Army documents.
Now the Arizona Army National Guard is determining whether Michael Denofre, 30, should face military criminal prosecution as well.
Maricopa County Superior Court judges have postponed Denofre’s trial five times since Sept. 1 based on military documents filed with the court.
The documents state that Denofre was ordered out of town to help with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and to report to Fort Lewis in Washington to help his Mesa-based unit deploy to Iraq.
The most recent trial postponement was because Denofre claimed he was going to Iraq for 18 months.
An Army document dated Nov. 21 states that "the soldier admitted falsification of orders."
National Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Aguirre said Denofre isn’t scheduled to deploy to Iraq and that the documents filed with the court "were not official documents originated from the Arizona Army National Guard."
An Army investigator is supposed to give a report Dec. 12 to the commander of the 153rd Field Artillery Brigade.
Denofre’s commanding officer requested a formal investigation after a Nov. 16 Tribune story about Denofre.
In that story, Denofre’s attorney Bethany Jacobs said that the latest date for his trial — Dec. 14 — created a dilemma for the supply sergeant. Either it had to go on in Denofre’s absence, eliminating his chance to take the stand and tell his side of the story, or she would have to persuade a judge to give an 18-month postponement until Denofre returned from Iraq, which would also be unfair because he wouldn’t have a fair and speedy trial.
Jacobs has asked to withdraw as Denofre’s attorney. A hearing is set for Dec. 7.
Mesa police arrested Denofre on Feb. 5 after finding him at 6 a.m. slumped over in his idling truck that was blocking his neighbor’s driveway.
He had a beer in his hand and was surrounded by several empty beer cans as the officer nudged him awake, police said.
Denofre said he simply slept in his truck to avoid a spat with his wife and never drove drunk. He said he ran the truck so he could use the heater, according to court documents.
Attempts to reach Denofre for comment were unsuccessful.