Gov. Evan Mecham stayed at his suburban "government in exile" Friday as state senators prepared for the weighty decision of whether to remove the impeached governor from office.
Mecham, who has been giving speeches and making campaign trips, stepped out of the spotlight Friday as his Senate impeachment trial approached final arguments, and possibly a vote, on Monday."There will be nothing over the weekend," said a secretary at Mecham's office in suburban Glendale. "He is in the office just working on things here."
At the Senate building, which was officially closed for Good Friday, Republican Majority Leader Robert Usdane was at his desk, poring over legal instructions and a trial memorandum from the prosecution.
He insisted he has not made up his mind whether Mecham is guilty or innocent.
The first-term Republican is charged with attempting to obstruct an investigation of an alleged death threat by one of his staffers and misusing $80,000 from a protocol fund by lending it to his car dealership.
"I have to go back and look at the evidence again," Usdane said. "Nothing hit me between the eyes, so I'm going to have to go back and see what's there."
Usdane said he found the second charge regarding the $80,000 loan "heavier."
"There's more involvement by the governor. More people testified," he said, adding that testimony by Mecham's former chief of staff, Jim Colter, contradicted the governor's.
Usdane said his greatest concern was that his Senate colleagues not be swayed by phone calls from constituents urging them to vote one way or the other or face retribution at the ballot box.
"When it comes down to the bottom line, people will make a decision and not let what is going to happen to them politically change that decision," Usdane said. "At least that's what I hope."