Attorneys for retired Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio are “highly optimistic” the lawman will get a favorable verdict in the Obama DOJ-carryover case against him. Arpaio has been charged with misdemeanor contempt of court for turning over illegal aliens who had been arrested by his department to federal immigration authorities—one of the key things that got him repeatedly re-elected by the people of a county that borders Mexico and appreciated his work.
By Mark Anderson
PHOENIX, Ariz.—Mark Goldman, one of the attorneys for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the veteran lawman’s criminal trial that just wrapped up in Arizona, says he’s highly optimistic that Arpaio will not be convicted, because the three essential conditions under which he could be found guilty of a misdemeanor “contempt of court” charge were not met in court.
“We feel very happy,” Goldman told this AFP writer July 7, the day after closing arguments were heard in this widely watched case. The trial, initially expected to last at least eight days, ended up with only four days of testimony in late June, plus closing arguments on July 6.
Goldman feels good about the case because federal prosecutors evidently didn’t come close to proving even the first of those three conditions, let alone the other two.
The first condition is that a 2011 federal court injunction—purportedly issued to try to stop Arpaio from apprehending illegal aliens—must have been “clear and definite” in its meaning. While Arpaio is accused of contempt of court for allegedly defying the injunction, it appears the injunction was worded too vaguely for federal prosecutors to have a clear shot at winning their case against the popular lawman.
During Arpaio’s time as Maricopa County sheriff, the former Drug Enforcement Agency officer’s deputies would turn over apprehended illegal aliens to the federal government for processing, due to serious concerns in the densely populated county—just a few miles from the border—about drug-running, human trafficking, and other crimes fostered by U.S. open-borders policies and attitudes.
In federal district court in Phoenix, Judge Susan Bolton “picked up on the fact that the [injunction] was anything but clear and definite,” Goldman summarized. He stressed that, since testimony from both sides revealed that the 40-page injunction failed to be clear and definite, then the other two conditions that the prosecution trotted out could not realistically be met.
Those other conditions were that Arpaio was aware of the injunction’s details and that he knowingly and willfully violated the injunction.
“No one who testified understood [the injunction’s meaning] when it was issued,” Goldman told American Free Press .
He said that the apparent clincher came when the star witness of the Department of Justice, Tim Casey—Arpaio’s former attorney, who evidently turned against Arpaio—admitted during cross-examination that the injunction was not clear and definite. “To me, that’s enough to make this whole case go away . . . so Joe’s feeling pretty good at this point,” Goldman said.
Arpaio himself was not yet at liberty to directly speak with AFP, pending the judge’s decision.
Also according to Goldman, Joe Sousa, who was Arpaio’s lieutenant for the human-smuggling unit at the sheriff’s department, testified for the defense that, with Casey serving as Arpaio’s attorney at the time, never once did Casey inform Sousa or the department that they may have incorrectly interpreted the injunction when going about their job of apprehending those found to be illegal aliens during standard law enforcement, which the feds have constantly labeled as “racial profiling.”
Casey had free access to the smuggling unit, and it would have been his job to know of or discover a possible injunction violation and communicate his views to the sheriff’s department, Goldman added.
“Joe never interfered. And he had Casey as an attorney to instruct [Joe’s] subordinates on how to interpret the injunction,” Goldman said.
Since Arpaio was unable to secure a jury trial, Judge Bolton will decide the matter. That won’t happen until July 21 or later, however, the date that attorneys for both sides were asked to submit briefs on “applicable law” to aid the judge in deciding this case.
Prosecutors have maintained that Arpaio intentionally and defiantly prolonged patrols to apprehend illegal aliens for 17 months after the injunction was issued. But as July 21 approaches, it appears that this narrative is part of an effort by the Justice Department, in a carryover from the Obama administration, to conduct a political hit against Arpaio.
That view is widely held, because the misdemeanor lawsuit, filed just days before the last sheriff’s election in November 2016, helped unseat Arpaio in his re-election bid.
Arpaio’s backers say that the case vividly illustrates one key way that left-leaning politicians and their cohorts in the courts, major media, and elsewhere go about discrediting concerted, effective efforts to secure America’s borders.
Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.