Attorney General Mayes’ New Chief Deputy Advocated For Assault Against Former AG

January 12, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

Attorney General Kris Mayes’ newly appointed right-hand man previously advocated for assault against the former attorney general.

Earlier this week, Mayes appointed lawyer Dan Barr to become her chief deputy attorney general. This comes a little under a year after Barr called former Attorney General Mark Brnovich a bully, indicating that physical force was the only means of handling him effectively.

“The only way to deal with cowardly bullies is to punch them in the nose,” wrote Barr. “That’s what @SecretaryHobbs is doing to @GeneralBrnovich.”

Barr issued the tweet in response to Governor Hobbs, then the secretary of state, suing Brnovich for threatening her with criminal action over her administration of the 2020 election.

Barr still hasn’t deleted the tweet.

Barr hails from Perkins Coie — the law firm formerly led by prominent Democratic Party and Russiagate attorney Marc Elias. He was representing Mayes in the case filed by her GOP opponent, Abraham Hamadeh, challenging this recent election. Barr filed a notice of withdrawal in the case on Monday. 

Barr also represented Mayes in Hamadeh’s first lawsuit over the election results preceding the statewide canvass. Maricopa County Superior Court dismissed the case without prejudice for filing prematurely.

Barr told Arizona’s Law that he begins his role on Jan. 17. Jen Wright, former assistant attorney general and head of Brnovich’s Election Integrity Unit (EIU), questioned this timeline. She noted that he has an active email with the attorney general’s office.

Wright is contemplating a defamation lawsuit against Mayes after an unnamed source within the attorney general’s office falsely claimed to the Arizona Republic that Mayes fired Wright. 

AZ Free News reached out to Barr about challenges to the timeline of his employment. We also asked if he had been or is currently working on any litigation with the attorney general’s office. He didn’t respond by press time. 

Barr expressed confidence in Mayes’ ability to stop Saudi Arabia from using Arizona’s rural groundwater resources. Saudi Arabian companies rely on unlimited access to this water source for their commercial farms; unlike urban areas, groundwater in rural areas doesn’t have restrictions.

Barr is also supportive of Mayes’ approach to legalizing abortion. He expressed the belief that the “right to privacy” purportedly in the Constitution superseded the state’s interest in preserving unborn life. Prior to becoming a Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justice, Louis Brandeis invented the “right to privacy” in the 1890s, later using it in key SCOTUS opinions. This language informed the landmark decision Griswold v. Connecticut — the precursor to Roe v. Wade, effectively creating a right to abortion and abolishing state bans on abortions. 

Mayes hasn’t issued an official announcement about Barr yet. The new attorney general was sworn in last Monday. 

Prior to joining the attorney general’s office, Barr specialized in constitutional, media, and employment law. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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