The former Maricopa County sheriff emerges as head of a conservative non-profit.
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Arizona Republic columnist Ed Montini weighs in on Sherff Joe Arpaio’s re-election loss. Video by azcentral
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With a federal judge’s signature on a proposed order initially submitted by prosecutors Oct. 17, the deal is sealed: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is criminally charged with federal contempt of court.
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Viridiana Hernandez talks about the “Arrest Arpaio Not the People” anti-Sheriff Joe Arpaio protest, which was held outside Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix. Nick Oza/azcentral.com
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Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s attorney Mel Mcdonald addresses the media outside the federal courthouse in Phoenix. Nick Oza/azcentral.com
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Protesters demonstrate against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio outside federal court on Oct. 11, 2016. azcentral.com
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Maricopa County Supervisors on Sept. 21 approved an extra $4.5 million in legal fees to cover costs with a long-running racial-profiling case involving the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
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The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is eliminating pay raises for some of its jail detention staff to help foot the growing bill for a racial-profiling case, but they considered several other options, including closing the famous Tent City jail.
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A federal judge issued sweeping reforms over the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s internal affairs division, stripping its leaders of autonomy over disciplinary actions related to the long-running racial-profiling case against the agency.
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A federal judge has found Sheriff Joe Arpaio in civil contempt of federal court.
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Arpaio in contempt of federal court
Just three weeks from former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s criminal contempt trial, lead defense attorney Mel McDonald has asked to withdraw from the case.
In a brief Monday filing, McDonald only states that the request is made in “good cause” and that his withdrawal was “mandatory” under an ethical rule.
Arpaio could face as much as six months in jail for disregarding a federal judge’s order in a racial-profiling case. Arpaio, 84, already has been found in civil contempt, but prosecutors will have to prove willful defiance for a criminal conviction.
The trial is set to begin April 25.
Another motion states that Arpaio was “coerced” into acknowledging civil contempt in the case. According to the motion, Arpaio agreed to the admission because his attorneys led him to believe that it would prevent him from criminal charges.
It is unclear whom the motion seeks to blame for this agreement. While McDonald represented Arpaio’s criminal interests in the contempt case, separate attorneys from the same firm handled the civil matters.
McDonald has been a longstanding fixture in Arpaio’s contempt proceedings, often chiming in during the civil hearings in an effort to thwart criminal charges. But many of the recent filings also listed a new attorney of record, either alongside McDonald or alone: Mark Goldman.
The March 24 filing that alleges Arpaio failed to receive proper assistance of counsel when he acknowledged civil contempt was filed by Goldman alone.
Goldman said he signed onto the case two weeks ago and was not surprised by McDonald’s filing. He said he’s likely to seek a continuance of the trial in order to prepare for his new role.
“I have not had time to adequately prepare for this case,” he said.
Goldman said he needs time to review underlying documents, statements from witnesses and transcripts from the racial-profiling trial.
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McDonald isn’t the first attorney to part ways from his high-profile client.
Tim Casey, Arpaio’s attorney in the initial racial-profiling case, eventually stepped down and went on to testify against his former client in Arpaio’s civil-contempt case.
Arpaio’s former civil-contempt attorney, Michele Iafrate, got pulled into the fray herself after reportedly giving advice that resulted in the agency’s misconduct.
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When reached by phone, Arpaio remained evasive about the decision.
“If you have any questions, talk to my current lawyer,” he said.
Goldman could not be reached for comment.
Arpaio is charged with one count of criminal contempt for failing to stop enforcing federal immigration law after he was ordered to do so by a federal judge. The case stems from a long-running racial-profiling case presided over by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow.
Justice Department attorneys are prosecuting the case.
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