Paul Petersen faces new legal hurdle in adoption scandal: Paying his lawyers

AG Brnovich gets order to seize Petersen’s and wife’s assets worth up to $1.46 million. With cash and properties frozen, attorney says: ‘How can he defend himself’?

Paul Petersen (right) leaves the county courthouse with his attorney after pleading not guilty to numerous child trafficking charges involved in an alleged adoption scam./12 News video

Author Brahm Resnik | 12 News

Paul Petersen has a new problem: paying for the lawyers defending him in an adoption scandal covering three states.

Arizona prosecutors are allowed to seize the Petersen family’s assets – property, bank accounts and vehicles – worth up to $1.46 million, according to a seizure warrant obtained by 12 News.

Related: Paul Petersen’s property, bank accounts frozen in $1.5 million seizure warrant

Under a court order obtained last week by Attorney General Mark Brnovich, neither Petersen nor his wife, Raquel Petersen, can cash in any of their assets. 

“His life’s savings are locked up. How can he defend himself?” said attorney Kurt Altman, Petersen’s lead defender.

“This shows the absolute breadth of power the government has … There hasn’t been a shred of evidence presented.”

Petersen faces more than five-dozen felony charges in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah, connected to what prosecutors allege was an illegal baby-selling scheme. Petersen has pleaded not guilty to all the changes.

Petersen is also fighting a four-month suspension from his $77,000-a-year elected post as Maricopa County assessor. He will appeal the suspension before the Maricopa County Board on Dec. 11. 

Petersen has a separate legal team handling the appeal.


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November 2019