Not so Honest Abe: Republican Attorney General Candidate Abe Hamadeh Lied About His Experience


Photo by Gage Skidmore

By Dillon Rosenblatt

October 18, 2022

Hamadeh has made a habit of misleading voters or straight-up lying about his background and experience, according to personnel records.

Abraham Hamadeh, a 31-year-old Republican running to be the next Arizona attorney general, said he’s handled “dozens of trials,” but according to a public database and two of his personnel files, that claim appears to be false.

Hamadeh, a first-time candidate, has developed a pattern of lying or misleading voters, which makes his campaign slogan of “Honest Abe” seem a tad ironic.

An Embellished Work History

I obtained Hamadeh’s personnel files from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and Tucson City Prosecutor’s Office, where he worked his only full-time legal job and an unpaid internship, respectively.

His file from the county attorney’s office confirms the speculation that Hamadeh only worked there for roughly three years. Hamadeh was employed there two months after passing the bar exam in May 2017 and did not resign until September 2021.

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Hamadeh admitted in his September 2021 resignation letter that he did not step foot in the office since he was deployed in July 2020––14 months earlier. All told, he only practiced law at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for about two years and 10 months.

On top of that, Maricopa County prosecutors sit through a one-year probationary period to begin their employment when joining the county attorney’s office. During this time, a supervisor wrote that Hamadeh helped on several trials—but eAccess, a site dedicated to tracking cases searchable by attorney or other information factors, shows Hamadeh may not have actually been directly involved in any trials during his short tenure.

Hamadeh was listed as an attorney on 28 cases. Nine of them he joined after a guilty plea/dismissal, three cases were dismissed (one with prejudice), and none went to trial. Those nine are struck through below, and the dismissed cases are in bold.

I reached out to his supervisor for some clarification on his claim that “Abe has conducted one jury trial, multiple bench trials and numerous evidentiary hearings,” referencing eAccess showing otherwise.

The supervisor refused to comment on that or on Hamadeh’s candidacy for Arizona attorney general.

Interns Don’t Prosecute Cases

Hamadeh’s own website actually softens what he has claimed in interviews about working on dozens of trials. His website says he “appeared in court to prosecute criminals, uphold victims’ rights, and seek justice for the community.”

“Appeared in court” is not the same as actually handling the trials and sounds purposely vague.

What’s more, Hamadeh claimed in his resume for the Maricopa County Attorney job that he “prosecuted ten misdemeanor bench trials … [and] Prosecuted two misdemeanor jury trials” while at the Tucson City Prosecutor’s Office.

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Hamadeh was a “volunteer intern,” the office told me—meaning no, he did not prosecute any of the trials himself. Hamadeh also was not a licensed attorney at the time and wouldn’t be for another two years.

By all accounts, his supervisors thought highly of Hamadeh during his short time at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, saying he has the potential to be a “valuable litigator and trial attorney.” 

But still, he barely spent any time in a courtroom as an attorney.

Hamadeh’s Democratic opponent, Kris Mayes, has not spent time as a trial attorney herself, but she has practiced and taught law for a number of years and served in a quasi-judicial role as a Corporation Commissioner for seven years.

Supporter of ‘The Big Lie’

Hamadeh earned Donald Trump’s endorsement in part because he has been willing to campaign on the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump. 

Hamadeh has, on multiple occasions, signaled he supports the unconstitutional, far-right “decertification” theory and that he would not have signed off on the 2020 election certification. But his campaign promise shows a gross misunderstanding of the position he’s running for: the attorney general is only present in that process as a witness; the signature of the secretary of state is really the only one that matters for certification.

I attempted to interview Hamadeh or his campaign for two weeks. After two emails, a phone conversation, and several texts with Erica Knight, his spokeswoman, she told me he was “too busy” to talk. I sent the campaign 16 questions I had for Hamadeh. They did not respond.

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Hamadeh has avoided speaking to local media since his primary win but has gone on the Steve Bannon podcast multiple times, including on Sept. 6, 2022. Bannon was indicted two days later for money laundering, conspiracy, and fraud charges relating to the border wall. Hamadeh was “too busy” for a KTAR interview his opponent participated in as well as a debate on 12 News.

Despite wearing his published work as a badge of honor—in his Tucson City Prosecutor personnel file, Hamadeh listed writing an op-ed for the Arizona Daily Star as one of his “achievements” in his resume—the Republican candidate for Arizona attorney general has made a campaign tactic out of attacking the press and accusing them of hating “minority Republicans” because of stories about Hamadeh’s past and family.

Two of the questions I sent Hamadeh’s campaign were:

  1. Do you support the Freedom of the Press?
  2. Do you think you are exempt from media criticism because you happen to be a “minority Republican”?

The stories in question that led to multiple Twitter tirades from the Republican nominee are pretty noteworthy, too. For example, Hamadeh seemingly admitted to committing real voter fraud in a Ron Paul message board as a teenager, saying he voted his mom’s ballot for her when he wasn’t of age to vote himself.

I asked him how he, as the potential attorney general, would prosecute a case like this had it happened today and received no response.

Last year, before Kris Mayes launched her campaign for Arizona attorney general, I spoke to her about political candidates not speaking to the media. She said you don’t have to like talking to reporters, but you still need to do it. 

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“If candidates are cutting off access to reporters, then they’re cutting off voters’ access to them,” said Mayes. “And that’s not good for democracy at all.” 

Mayes has done plenty of press conferences and media interviews.

Other related questions I sent Hamadeh’s campaign:

  1. You said you don’t think people should be judged based on what they’ve said as a teen. I agree with that on its face, but that also involves taking responsibility for past comments and showing some sign of growth in the years since they were said. Do you regret the comments you posted on that Ron Paul message board as a 16/17-year-old about targeting Jews?
  2. Your father was on the brink of deportation in the ‘90s until a judge ordered against it so as not to separate him from his family… How has that personal experience shaped your immigration platform, if at all?

Miscellaneous Misrepresentations

Hamadeh is currently under investigation by the US Army Reserves, a spokesperson confirmed to me in August. They were mum on details, but the speculation is because Hamadeh did not include an important disclosure that he is not endorsed by the military in his campaign materials showing him in uniform. Though it’s possible there’s more, they are looking into this.

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Hamadeh also weirdly posted a year-old video that he edited to make it seem like a man pointed a gun at an intruder to show his support for the Second Amendment. His video has over 1 million views now, but it wasn’t a gun, it wasn’t a recent video, and it didn’t take place in Arizona. All context was missing from his tweet.

Additionally, the Arizona Agenda reported back in May how Hamadeh hired an alleged rapist as a campaign consultant. Neither Hamadeh nor his campaign has addressed the hiring or subsequent firing of Cliff Maloney Jr. but still attempted to attack his Democratic opponent for her hiring practices.

As the Agenda wrote at the time:

That failure to vet employees raises questions of whether Hamadeh would ignore warning signs from employees at the Attorney General’s Office. And by attempting to sweep the Maloney problem under the rug, Hamadeh has shown a lack of transparency unbecoming of public office. 

A Million Dollar Loan for an Audience of One

Lastly, he’s faced scrutiny from both Republicans and Democrats over his campaign finance reports—not to mention his initial financial disclosure form that failed to include vital information—showing a $1 million loan from his brother and campaign chair in his coffers on his Q1 report.  This loan juiced his campaign finance totals at a crucial juncture in the primary and helped his fundraising strength–and thus his candidacy–appear more robust than it actually was.

But the loan was quickly repaid four days after the filing period ended–a repayment that wouldn’t be public until the next campaign finance deadline on July 15 and helping him earn Trump’s endorsement in the interim. Hamadeh has yet to discuss this questionable tactic, and his campaign would not respond to that question.

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