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Nick R. Martin

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Nick

Former Arizona prosecutor Andrew Thomas lashed out on Wednesday at the state for stripping him of license to practice law the day before, saying Arizona had become as corrupt as Mexico.

"Arizona, after what happened yesterday, has become Mexico," Thomas said at a news conference in Phoenix. "Powerful politicians twice indicted for corruption have gone free...Insiders who knew how the system works and how to work the system have had a field day."

First elected as the top Maricopa County prosecutor in 2004, Thomas was a longtime ally of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He was disbarred for what ethics investigators described as a crusade to jail and embarrass the reputations of anyone that dared to oppose him or Arpaio.

Thomas said at the news conference that he plans to return to politics despite the disbarment. He said he planned to organize a measure to appear on the 2012 ballot that would address what he believes is continued widespread problems in Arizona.

"Unless we want Arizona to become as corrupt as Mexico, the people of Arizona must act," he said.

He also revealed that he plans to tell his story in a forthcoming book.

Conservative talk jock Sean Hannity confirmed Tuesday night on his Fox News show that he spoke recently by phone with George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in an incident that set off a national firestorm.

Earlier in the day, two lawyers who had been representing Zimmerman said they lost contact with their client and heard rumors that he had been talking to the Fox host.

Hannity acknowledged he's been in contact with Zimmerman but agreed to not report on their conversation.

Watch the video:

Hackers on Wednesday morning apparently took over the Twitter account for the anti-gay National Organization For Marriage and turned it into a feed promoting gay rights.

By noon, the stream for @NOMTweets was filled with a dozen messages linking to gay rights organizations and apologizing for the organization's past.

It wasn't yet clear who was behind the hack. Here's a screenshot of one such tweet and the reactions by others on Twitter:

National Organization For Marriage Twitter account hacked

Updated: April 10, 2012, 4:02 PM

In a Phoenix courtroom filled with fellow lawyers and some of his biggest critics on Tuesday, the former Arizona prosecutor who served for years as Sheriff Joe Arpaio's right-hand man was stripped of his license to practice law.

A three-member state disciplinary panel ruled that ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas abused his powers as a prosecutor to target his political enemies. Because of that, they ruled he would be disbarred.

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Latino groups on Tuesday called for authorities to zero in on Sheriff Joe Arpaio after his former right-hand man and longtime political ally was stripped of his license to practice law as part of a wide-ranging investigation that raised questions about whether the two of them had abused their law enforcement powers.

Ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas was disbarred after a lengthy investigation by the State Bar of Arizona. A three-member panel ruled that Thomas misused his power as a prosecutor to target people who were seen as political enemies of him and Arpaio. The investigation showed that Arpaio was heavily involved in the conduct.

"Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Arpaio worked together to intimidate anyone who may have been able to stop the sheriff's heinous crimes," said Sandra Castro of Puente Arizona, an immigrant rights group that has long been critical of Arpaio. "Restoring justice in Maricopa County won't be complete until the sheriff himself is brought to justice."

Similarly, members of a Republican Latino group said the disbarment was only the first step in the path to justice.

"We look forward to justice for Joe Arpaio, who has not yet been indicted or charged in this scandal, though clearly he is a central figure in this repugnant behavior," said a statement released by Cafe Con Leche Republicans. "This ugly chapter in Arizona history will not be closed until Joe Arpaio is also held accountable for his utterly disgraceful conduct."

Arpaio and his spokesmen declined to answer specific questions about the calls from the Latino groups. Instead, he released only a brief written statement about his longtime ally.

"Today's decision no doubt is a disappointment to Andrew Thomas, his family and his colleagues," Arpaio said. "He was a hard working professional who served the people of this county for many years."

If things went differently, Andrew Thomas might have had a bright career in Arizona politics.

In six years as the top prosecutor in Maricopa County, he stood side-by-side with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and earned a reputation as an aggressive and ambitious politician. A pair of conservative warriors in a Republican stronghold, the two teamed up to push for tougher treatment of illegal immigrants and to pursue what they saw as widespread corruption by local government officials.

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