Officials in three states say they will not try to interfere with dozens of adoptions done as part of a human smuggling scheme that led to charges against Maricopa County Assessor Paul D. Petersen.
Prosecutors in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas say they consider the adoptive parents to be victims in the scheme along with the biological mothers who were brought from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth and hand over their babies.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich says the focus of the case is on the abuse of the system by Petersen. Authorities allege Petersen has for years run an adoption law practice in Mesa.
Petersen's attorney, Matthew Long, defended his client's actions during a court hearing in Phoenix Wednesday. He said Petersen engaged in what he called "proper business practices."