A bag containing $7,000 in cash. A self-made billionaire code-named "Cabo." A media-hog sheriff obsessed with a wack investigation of President Obama's birth certificate. A supposed CIA database of illegally harvested data. And a Seattle-based computer guru, code-named "Oz."
These are a few of the speakers and subjects found in audio recordings made by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Cold Case Posse commander Mike Zullo during the MCSO's absurd Seattle operation, which cost at least $250,000 in public funds, and likely a lot more.
Zullo's audio files recently were published in their entirety by New Times. But for those who don't have time to listen to them all, here are 10 damning clips, some featuring Arpaio swearing like a wiseguy in a Martin Scorsese flick. Enjoy!
10. "Bullet in your brain."
Arpaio explains to an underling that he wants to keep the investigation into Montgomery's claims top secret, and why.
9. "Do you have like $20,000 you can spare?"
The sheriff wonders if then-billionaire Tim Blixseth, who introduced the MCSO to Montgomery, has some petty cash lying around for attorneys fees.
8. "I'd say this guy's a pedophile."
Zullo asks the quick-talking Montgomery how he could ruin someone with the personal information in his database.
7. "You were going to have to grease somebody to get in there, correct?"
Zullo talks to Montgomery about $7,000 the computer guy allegedly was given by the MCSO for a special trip to Los Angeles, where Montgomery had to "grease somebody" to gain access to powerful computers at Lockheed Martin.
6. "Ain't no attorney general [that has] the balls."
Blixseth wants an Arizona prosecutor to give Montgomery immunity. Arpaio claims state prosecutors lack the huevos to do so.
5. "They got any information the cartels are after me?"
Arpaio wonders if the CIA has any info about the cartels being after him. Which is hilarious, because he's done more to curb puppy mills than Mexican drug cartels.
4. "My problem on the birth certificate is getting somebody to do the goddamn thing."
Arpaio explains that he's got the goods on Obama's birth certificate, but no one will touch it.
3. "We came into it through the birth certificate."
Arpaio talks to Blixseth, MCSO Detective Brian Mackiewicz and others about how Obama's birth certificate was the genesis of the Seattle investigation.
2. "Being a little old sheriff? That doesn't mean shit."
Arpaio regales then-billionaire Blixseth about his time as a fed, and boasts about how he "knows more about Watergate than Watergate," whatever that means.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
1. "McCain? Are you kiddin'? He hates my ass."
Arpaio tells everyone how he really feels about Arizona's senior U.S. senator, after Blixseth suggests him as a possible source of assistance.