Lemons: Arpaio Wants More of Your Money; Say It Isn't So, Joe (or Just Go Away)
Like a bad case of hemorrhoids on the body politic, Arpaio resists all remedies.
I might cut former Sheriff Joe Arpaio some slack on his upcoming criminal contempt trial, if the loser lawman would just go away.
But like a nasty case of ulcerative colitis, Arpaio lingers on, begging for contributions via fundraising e-mails and whining about getting his butt kicked by Democrat Paul Penzone in November by a whopping 13 points.
Meanwhile, the bill for the civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio continues to balloon, more than $50 million and counting, in part because Arpaio continues to meddle in the case.
Which is galling, considering that in fiscal year 2017, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors was forced to raise property taxes 5.47 cents to pay for 72 new staff members to help implement the various reforms ordered by the court.
That's in addition to the millions the county continues to shell out for a court-imposed monitor and ongoing legal fees, which Arpaio, it seems, is making worse.
Recently, federal Judge G. Murray Snow, the trial judge in Melendres, who found Arpaio and the MCSO guilty of racial profiling in 2013, issued a notice that Arpaio and two of his ex-flunkies want to remain involved in Melendres so they can keep trying to get Snow and his monitor booted off the case.
Arpaio tried and failed in 2015 to get Snow to recuse himself, claiming the judge was compromised because the MCSO had "investigated" Snow and his wife for bogus reasons.
Then in late October, Arpaio hired a fancy Washington, D.C. law firm at taxpayer expense to move that Snow recuse himself — get this — because Snow regularly communicates with his court-appointed monitor Robert Warshaw.
You would think these shenanigans would end once Arpaio was out of power, eating beenie-weenies with wife Ava in Fountain Hills. But no.
And who pays for these futile legal maneuverings? Let's just say that I doubt Joe's reaching into his own pocket. So, look in the mirror.
I'm still trying to find out just how much this is costing us and will update this post when I have that information.
Last year, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery authorized the hiring of the D.C. firm — Cooper & Kirk — despite the Supervisors' refusing to pay for it.
Supposedly, the money was to come out of the MCSO's budget.
MCSO spokesman Mark Casey has referred me to the the MCAO for any comment. I've queried both the County and Montgomery's office on the matter.
Meanwhile, Arpaio awaits his trial for criminal contempt for defying the orders of Judge Snow in Melendres. It's currently scheduled for April 25.
Recently, the federal judge in the criminal contempt case, Judge Susan R. Bolton, rejected an attempt by Arpaio's counsel, Mel McDonald, to have the case tried by a jury. But McDonald conceded that because Arpaio stands accused of misdemeanor contempt, with a maximum of six months in the slammer, he does not have a constitutional right to a jury trial.
So a bench trial it will be.
Fortunately, the taxpayers are not on the hook for Arpaio's criminal defense, which is one reason Arpaio's been hitting up his supporters for contributions to his legal defense fund, blathering on about being a victim of Barack Obama's Justice Department.
Though, of course, it's President Donald Trump's DOJ now.
So far, the Trump administration has yet to help out ol' Joe. I'm told by folks who know and talk with Arpaio regularly that he's hoping for a Gerry Ford-esque pre-trial pardon from The Donald.
My sources also tell me that Arpaio is deathly afraid of one thing if found guilty: the possibility of a mugshot, since he would likely have to be booked by the U.S. Marshal.
It's unlikely Arpaio will get any time, but that mugshot would be punishment enough, seeing that Arpaio dreads it.
On another note, hats off to Mitch Martinson over at Arizona's Politics, who beat everyone to the punch on Arpaio's new 501c4, the Joe Arpaio Action Fund, which is separate from the Sheriff Joe Arpaio Legal Fund.
According to its filing with the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Action Fund exists to "promote social welfare by educating citizens on public policy initiatives."
Riiight. Back his cronies and target his enemies in the 2018 election is more like it.
And guess who the statutory agent is in the filing? None other than Arpaio's former communications director, Chris Hegstrom.
Nice to see Joe's throwing Hegstrom a bone.
The funniest part about the text of the e-mail blast is Arpaio's blaming lefty billionaire George Soros for his defeat last year. (Technically, Arpaio's campaign guru Chad Willems of Summit Consulting composed the letter for Arpaio's John Hancock.)
True, the Soros-backed group Maricopa Strong did drop about $3.4 million targeting Arpaio and promoting Penzone during the race.
But Arpaio spent $12.6 million during the last election cycle to Penzone's measly $1 million. Even with the Soros money, Penzone was woefully outmatched.
And he still spanked Joe hard at the polls.
Maybe that's why Trump hasn't yet lifted one of his tiny pinkies to help the guy who campaigned so hard for him.
Trump, you see, is all about "winning."
And Joe's just another loser.
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