May 9, 2013 10:56 PM by Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's no contest plea in a misdemeanor hit-and-run case came without warning, even for the court.
The unscheduled court appearance came on what was arguably the biggest news day of the year in Phoenix, with the media focused on Jodi Arias verdict. The city prosecutor says Horne's lawyer called him Wednesday afternoon and asked if Horne could appear and enter a plea.
The timing had the effect of burying the story and minimizing the political damage for the Horne.
Retired Arizona State University political science professor Bruce Merrill says the timing of Horne's plea was politically astute. Horne's spokeswoman says it was coincidence.
Horne had been fighting the case tooth-and-nail for months, deposing FBI agents who witnessed the incident and seeking a dismissal on constitutional grounds.
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