Judge Reduces Bail For Arizona Official Charged In 3 States

Oct 28, 2019

A Utah judge has reduced the bail for the Maricopa County Assessor charged in an alleged human smuggling scheme involving pregnant women.  A district judge Friday reduced Paul D. Petersen’s bail to $150,000 from $3 million.

Maricopa County Assessor Paul D. Petersen.
Credit (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

Charges against Petersen in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah include human smuggling, sale of a child, fraud, forgery and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Petersen is in federal custody in Phoenix, and his Utah attorney, Scott Williams, has said the federal court wouldn’t hold a detention hearing in Arkansas for Petersen until the Utah bail issue is resolved.

Authorities allege women were brought to the U.S. from the Marshall Islands to give birth for adoptions. His now-former lawyer has denied the Petersen’s adoption business broke the law.

Meanwhile, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is moving to suspend Petersen.