New Times founders Jim Larkin (left) and Michael Lacey (right), now under arrest.
Plainclothes Maricopa County Sheriff's officers arrested New Times founders, Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey and Chairman/CEO Jim Larkin at their homes late Thursday evening for revealing grand jury information in their recent story Grand Jury Targets New Times and Its Readers. Both were taken into custody and have yet to be bailed out. Lacey is believed to be in the 4th Ave. Jail. And there are reports that Larkin was taken to a substation in Mesa.
In a related incident, New Times reporter Ray Stern was issued a citation today for taking digital photos of Sheriff's Office documents at the law offices of Iafrate and Associates in Phoenix. This is particularly absurd since all Stern did was try to take pictures of MCSO press releases -- public documents by any definition. When asked to leave by Michelle Iafrate, the head of the law firm, he did so without incident.
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It's believed the arrests have nothing to do with Judge Baca, the judge in charge of the grand jury currently investigating Phoenix New Times. Speculation is that New Times enemy Dennis Wilenchik, the special prosecutor in the case, may have filed a complaint against Lacey and Larkin, and that's the reason they were arrested.
Published yesterday, the cover story with its dual byline revealed details of an ongoing grand jury inquiry into a law allegedly violated years ago when reporter John Dougherty revealed Sheriff Arpaio's address in a column. Dougherty was looking into Sheriff Joe's real estate transactions at the time. The law makes it illegal to publish the address online, not in the physical paper.
New Times lawyer Steve Suskin called it "highly unusual" that someone would be arrested for a Class 1 misdemeanor such as Lacey and Larkin were, and called it "unprecedented in the annals of journalism."
More on this outrageous abuse of power by Sheriff Arpaio, County Attorney Andy Thomas and their attack-dog Wilenchik as it develops.