Joe Arpaio's Trial Resumes, and More on Sheriff's Confidant, Mike Zullo

Arpaio, looking down a double barrel of civil and criminal contempt.
Arpaio, looking down a double barrel of civil and criminal contempt.

After a week-plus recess, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's contempt trial resumes at 9 a.m. today in federal court before U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow.

Arpaio and four of his current and former top subordinates face allegations of civil contempt of Snow's orders in the ACLU's big civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio, which the MCSO lost in 2013, with Snow declaring the agency guilty of racial profiling and ordering a list of remedies.

The sheriff and his Chief Deputy have admitted to civil contempt of Snow's orders. Additionally, the pair face the possibility of Snow's making a criminal referral to either the U.S. Attorney's Office or a special prosecutor. Their co-defendants are unlikely to face more than civil punishment, if that.

(Note: I'll be live Tweeting during breaks in the proceedings Tuesday @stephenlemons, with the hashtag, #ArpaioContempt.)

The plaintiffs' list of remaining witnesses includes Detective Brian Mackiewicz, Deputy Chief Mike Olson, Captain Steve Bailey and Cold Case Posse Commander Mike Zullo, assuming they can ever nail down the posse man for a deposition.

Last week, through one of Arpaio's many lawyers, Joe Popolizio, Zullo submitted a trove of documents subpoenaed by the plaintiffs, which dealt with the Seattle operation.

However, Popolizio withheld some of the documents, "due to the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment and due process protections that Mr. Zullo believes may apply to him and the production of these additional materials," according to the attorney's court filing on the matter.

Joe Popolizio, one of Arpaio's many attorneys: Will he rep Zullo, too?
Joe Popolizio, one of Arpaio's many attorneys: Will he rep Zullo, too?
Stephen Lemons

Zullo had been scheduled to be deposed by the plaintiffs on Friday, October 23, but according to sources, Zullo refused to be questioned without an attorney.

Popolizio and his co-counsel John Masterson had been performing some legal functions for Zullo, who is now said to be looking for his own lawyer. Apparently, Zullo recently approached a lawyer in Georgia to represent him.

Monday morning, Snow held a telephonic conference with the parties to address these issues regarding Zullo. 

That afternoon, Snow issued an order, instructing Zullo that if he "wishes to file a motion for a protective order asserting Fourth and/or Fifth Amendment defenses to the production of those documents, he must do so by October 30, 2015."

If he does, the plaintiffs will have till November 3 to issue a reply. 

If he does not, Snow states that "the Court will order production of all documents to Plaintiffs."

In what seems to be a reference to Zullo's potential lawyer in Georgia, Snow orders Arpaio's criminal attorney Mel McDonald to "communicate with the attorney in Atlanta with whom he has corresponded via email to inform him of these deadlines."

Popolizio is ordered by the judge to tell Zullo about his new deadline. 

Also, Snow instructs Popolizio that he "must inform the Court within a day if he intends to take the position that he represents Mr. Zullo."

Nearly two years ago, Mackiewicz, Zullo and Sergeant Travis Anglin were ordered to Seattle by Arpaio and Chief Deputy Sheridan to monitor the work of Arpaio's paid confidential informant Dennis Montgomery.

Montgomery, a supposed computer guru and former CIA subcontractor, created timelines and flow charts alleging a vast anti-Arpaio conspiracy involving Judge Snow, the U.S. Department of Justice, the law firm of Covington and Burling, and many others. This, according to various witnesses during the trial.

Ultimately, Arpaio and Sheridan admitted that what they got from Montgomery was "junk" — junk that they paid a lot for: More than $120,000 in payments to Montgomery; and anywhere from $250,000 to $1 million overall for the MCSO's Seattle adventure.

Currently, Mackiewicz is under investigation by the MCSO and the Arizona Attorney General's Office, both criminally and civilly, for allegations ranging from spiking his overtime in Seattle to one involving Montgomery's allegedly building a computer for him.

There are also allegations that within the MCSO he is protected because of his special relationships with Arpaio and Sheridan.

More on that tomorrow, if Mackiewicz takes the stand.

Meanwhile, Arpaio's campaign guru Chad Willems continues to send out e-mailed fundraising pitches, signed by Joe, falsely claiming that Arpaio is facing the threat of a recall.

As New Times and other outlets have pointed out, there is zero threat of a recall against Joe.

After all, who would recall Arpaio when the sheriff is so close to an election in 2016? 

But if the e-mailed recipients don't reply, Willems pursues those potential donors like a telemarketer selling ShamWows, as you can see from the recently-received message below.

Like they say, there's a sucker born every minute, and Willems is there to make sure said suckers are parted from their cash.

Joe Arpaio's Trial Resumes, and More on Sheriff's Confidant, Mike Zullo
Joe Arpaio's Trial Resumes, and More on Sheriff's Confidant, Mike Zullo
Joe Arpaio's Trial Resumes, and More on Sheriff's Confidant, Mike Zullo
Joe Arpaio's Trial Resumes, and More on Sheriff's Confidant, Mike Zullo

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