Arpaio's Ex-Attorney Tim Casey Hired P.I. to Investigate Federal Judge's Wife

Note: Please see update below.

Which Tim Casey do you believe?

There's the Tim Casey who issued the following statement via his "ethics attorney" (read, "flack") Karen Clark in April, after his former client, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arpaio's Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, stated under oath in federal court that Casey, their ex-lawyer in the Melendres case, had hired a private dick to investigate comments made by federal Judge G. Murray Snow's wife Cheri.

And I quote:
Mr. Casey represented Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for many years.
Sheriff Arpaio and MCSO are his former clients. Because of this, Mr. Casey has continuing ethical
obligations to Sheriff Arpaio and MCSO. Those obligations mean that his ability to respond to what
happened in court today is limited.

Mr. Casey is confident that when the evidence the Court’s monitor is gathering is reviewed, it will reveal
that Mr. Casey was never involved in an investigation of Judge Snow or his family. (
Italics added.)
Now, that last bit seems pretty straightforward, if you're not a lawyer or a cop on trial..

But Sheridan, when asked by Judge Snow directly if the MCSO had investigated his wife, gave an answer worthy of Slick Willy Clinton himself, one that apparently applies to Casey's carefully-parsed denial.

"It depends on how you define, `investigated your wife,'" Sheridan replied.

Such is the pretzel logic Casey's been hiding behind since news of the investigation hit. 

Late Wednesday, letters from Casey to Phoenix PI Don Vogel and from Casey to Arpaio were made public by the court, with certain redactions. 

This is from the former, dated October 23, 2013:

The letter was signed by Casey, the same man whose firm billed taxpayers $1.6 million to defend Arpaio in Melendres.

Does Casey suffer from multiple-personality disorder? 

In the letter to Arpaio, dated November 6, 2013, Casey, or perhaps his evil twin, explains at length how he did a little investigatin' of his own, calling this woman, Karen Grissom, who allegedly spoke with Snow's wife in 2012 in a Tempe burrito joint.

See, in a 2013 Facebook message to Arpaio, Grissom informed the sheriff that some lady (whom she had trouble naming) told her that her judge husband didn't like Joe and wanted him out of office.

But Casey did not get formal statements from Grissom or her hubby. So after consulting with Arpaio and Sheridan, he writes that he "formally retained on October 23, 2013, investigator Don Vogel."

You know, to investigate statements made by Grissom, about statements allegedly made by Judge Snow's wife.

A non-investigation investigation.

Arpaio, Sheridan, and Casey were out to prove that Snow was biased, to conflict the jurist who had been ruling against them in Melendres.

They were so desperate to do this, they leapt at the first scrap of innuendo in their path.

Interestingly, in the letter to Vogel, Casey says he has been authorized to hire the shamus by both Arpaio and "Maricopa County Attorney William Montgomery."

Plus, the letter to Arpaio is cc'd to Deputy County Attorney Tom Liddy, who also was defending Arpaio and the MCSO in Melendres, until a self-described ethical conflict forced him to remove himself from the defendants' table.

In a January column, I previewed the April contempt hearing and reported the following:
A third source has told me that Snow's wife allegedly said some things about her husband's despising Arpaio, thus prompting the investigation.

How Arpaio would know this is not yet known.

I asked the MCSO whether it was investigating Judge Snow or his wife.

An MCSO spokesman issued a seemingly categorical denial.

"We are not and have not investigated any member of the Snow family," MCSO Lieutenant Brandon Jones told me.

The problem with that statement? One high-level source has told me the MCSO has farmed out the investigation of Snow's wife to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Questioned about this, MCAO spokesman Jerry Cobb told me that his office could not "confirm, deny, or comment on possible investigations by our office or any other agency.
I didn't have all the answers in January, but I was close.

My question for Casey, Liddy, and all the rest is: Just whom do y'all think you're foolin'?

Ironically, by discussing the non-investigation investigation of Snow's wife under oath, both Arpaio and Sheridan de facto waived any attorney-client privilege on the two letters, which cover the same material.

Which is pretty cool, you must admit.

The inked out portions in Casey's letter to Arpaio have been redacted by a magistrate because they concern Casey's "mental impressions and opinions" and are therefore considered protected parts of Casey's "work product."

Do these "mental impressions and opinions" ever include telling Arpaio "no"? 

Because from this point onward, Casey's going to be known for at least these two things: 1) hiring a private eye to investigate a federal judge's wife; and 2) defending the biggest racial-profiler in the United States of America — and losing.

E-mail: [email protected].

Update May 15: The County Attorney's Office is now singing a different tune. Asked about Casey's letters, the reference to Bill Montgomery, and the cc of Tom Liddy, MCAO PIO Jerry Cobb got back to me with the following statement.

"Reviewing client concerns about the fairness of any court proceeding can reflect an attorney’s ethical obligation in providing legal representation. The brief inquiry in this matter illustrates that obligation.”

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons