LAKE HAVASU CITY — State Rep. Paul Mosley made his first public appearance since making waves nationally with his brazen use of legislative immunity to get out of extreme speeding tickets on the road from Phoenix to Havasu.
Mosley appeared with other candidates for the two District 5 seats at a forum sponsored by the areas newspaper, Today’s News-Herald, at Grace Arts Live on Tuesday.
Mosley didn’t address the controversy in his introduction, but when asked directly about his use of legislative immunity and the abuse of the law by him and other lawmakers, he quickly apologized.
“I messed up and I’m sorry,” Mosley said to the standing-room only crowd packed in to the sweltering room on a warm afternoon.
“I apologize and it will never happen again. I will personally sponsor the bill to get rid of legislative immunity because I don’t see the purpose of it.”
Though he offered to write legislation to get rid of the perk, he also shifted some of the blame in his statement.
“When I got to the Legislature, the Sergeant in Arms gave me a sticker. All of the legislators told me, I’ve been pulled over more times than I can count. It’s no big deal. I just thought, OK. I know that Regina (Cobb), and Sonny (Borrelli) and probably all the legislators that have come from Mohave County and have a 200-mile commute have used legislative immunity. But, I’m at fault. I’m the one that messed up. I hope that you guys will forgive me.”
Mosley was caught on video during a traffic stop by a La Paz County Sheriff’s deputy bragging about driving speeds of up to 140 mph on Interstate 10 from Phoenix to Havasu. He was pulled over in the March stop for driving 97 mph in a 55 mph zone and used his legislative immunity to sidestep a citation. Records have since shown that Mosley has been stopped for excessive speeding at least five times in the last year.
While he was apologetic in tone, Mosley made sure to get in his shots at his fellow candidates while on stage.
Mosley, the third candidate to introduce himself after fellow Rep. Regina Cobb and candidate Leo Biasiucci, was also the first to sling mud at his competitors, aiming a pointed barb at Biasiucci during his introduction.
“I have always been a Republican, I was never a Green Party candidate and I’ve never tampered with your computer,” Mosley said to a mixed response from the crowd.
Candidate Jennifer Jones-Esposito, next to introduce herself, was quick to parry.
“I don’t even own a car that will go 140 mph,” she said. “There, I got the joke out of the way.”
Mosley was not available after the forum and did not return a call from the News-Herald on Monday night to expand on his comments.
Gov. Doug Ducey called abolition of legislative immunity a "needed reform" and said in a Twitter post Tuesday that he wants lawmakers to act early in the 2019 session to put a referendum on the ballot.
Last week Ducey signed an executive order directing state troopers to cite lawmakers if they break traffic laws despite the constitutional provision.