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Sheriff Joe Arpaio Should be Charged, Eric Holder Told in Letter From Former Arizona Prosecutors

Former Mayor Phil Gordon

Phil Gordon, Paul Charlton, Rick Romley and Terry Goddard sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today asking him to have Sheriff Joe Arpaio charged for abusing his power.

Gordon's a former Phoenix mayor; Charlton's a former Arizona U.S. Attorney; Romley's a former Maricopa County Attorney, and Goddard's a former Arizona Attorney General.

The ex-mayor and ex-prosecutors point out that when a state Supreme Court's disciplinary panel disbarred former County Attorney Andrew Thomas last week, it linked Arpaio as his partner in crime -- literally.

Here's their letter:

Dear Attorney General Holder,

Earlier this week the Arizona State Bar, following a lengthy and painstaking investigation, stripped former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas of his license to practice law.

These sanctions, the subject of a 247 page opinion, were in response to the stunning frequency with which Mr. Thomas abused the power of his position. The Bar opinion found that not only had Mr. Thomas violated the ethical rules in order to intimidate and smear political adversaries, the opinion found evidence which proved, "beyond a reasonable doubt" , that Mr. Thomas had violated 18 U.S.C. 241, Conspiracy Against Civil Rights.

Each of us felt relieved to see this measure of justice. In fact, it was heartening to those of us who remember and embrace the way our system, and the genius of its design, was intended to work in America.

Yet even as we acknowledge the just result of this week's actions, we draw your attention to the Bar's findings which indicate that Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio worked in concert to commit the crimes for which Mr. Thomas has, to a degree, been held accountable. The list of Sheriff Arpaio's transgressions against the residents of Maricopa County and his Oath of Office is extensive. We need not reiterate them here - as they, by this time, are well known to you.

The United States Department of Justice investigation began well over 1,200 days ago, in the Bush Administration. We recognize that the men and women of the US Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice have been working on this matter for a very long time. While the recent decision by the Arizona Bar resolves some of the allegations against both Mr. Thomas and the Sheriff, many others are still unresolved.

Given the Sheriff's often repeated position that he has been completely in the right, the only way to clear the air and resolve matters beyond a reasonable doubt is to meet before a judge and jury in a court of law. Or, if your investigation has not found sufficient evidence of wrong doing to bring criminal charges, you should say so now and end the investigation. Only definitive action by your Office one way or the other will end our long ordeal.

Mr. Attorney General, the State Bar of Arizona has closed one chapter in the Thomas - Arpaio saga, but only you can bring closure to the many issues still afflicting our County. Even the powerful statement made by a disbarment action does not equal the final resolution obtained by a trial and verdict. To see justice done, we must look beyond the corrective actions taken by the Bar and the often heroic investigations by the media. The State Bar has done all it can do. So has the free press. Now, it is up to the Department of Justice to bring final closure.

As a former mayor and three former prosecutors - each of us has spoken out - and each of us has paid a personal price for doing so. Today, we respectfully ask that you act.



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