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Joe Arpaio Slapdown: Judge Rejects Request To Seal Depositions in Melendres

Judge G. Murray Snow, the federal judge in the three-year-long racial profiling lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, has rejected a motion by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's lawyers to seal videotaped depositions of Arpaio, former Chief Deputy David Hendershott and other MCSO staff.

(Read the Judge's ruling, here.)

The motion was prepared by Tom Liddy, son of Watergate convict and rat-muncher G. Gordon Liddy. It asked Murray to bar the release of recent depositions by Arpaio, et al.

Um, like, why? Well, there's the real reason, and the reasons that Son-of-Rat-Muncher gave. The real reason is that when videos of their depositions were released last go-around, Arpaio and Hendy made some really asinine statements, which became fodder for Television newscasts, bloggers, and columnists.

Arpaio famously claimed that he had not read, in entirety, his last book, Joe's Law, co-authored by the sheriff's lickspittle-scribe Len Sherman. Arpaio even disagreed with parts of his own tome, saying that the wacky nativist reconquista theory regurgitated in the book was Sherman's contribution, not his.

Hendershott -- now on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of (Arpaio's pal) Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's investigation into allegations raised by the Munnell memo --blurted absurd stuff too.

Worst, perhaps, was his allegation of a conspiracy hell-bent on silencing his boss, a conspiracy that Hendy claimed included the ADL's Bill Straus, the White House, Mayor Phil Gordon, the Illuminati, the Bilderbergers, and members of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Okay, he didn't mention the last three, but he may as well have. Hendy looked and acted like the heavy, and this was long before MCSO Deputy Chief Frank Munnell's leaked report painted him, rightly or wrongly, as the epicenter of all corruption in the county.

But of course, Liddy couldn't argue that the videos should be kept under wraps because they would be embarrassing for Joe and his henchmen.

So he insisted that if the videos were released, the case would be tried in the media, there would be a "circus atmosphere" created," that personal info about law enforcement officers and private citizens might get released, and that criminal gangs might retaliate as a result.

(Read Liddy's rationale for his request in his reply motion, here. In his initial motion, Liddy's rationale was even dumber, just a one liner, as Mitch over at the "Arizona's Politics" blog recently pointed out.)

Liddy's claims were hooey, so Snow shot the motion down, but gave Liddy the possibility of revisiting the matter by issuing the order "without prejudice," and by telling Liddy to confer with the plaintiffs before renewing his motion.

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As a result, we'll likely have to wait a while longer before we get to eyeball the videos. The ACLU, which is providing counsel to the plaintiffs along with MALDEF and the firm of Covington and Burling, has informed me that it will make no decision on the videos until after sheriff Joe's legal beagles confer with them.

Ironically, these supplemental depositions were all ordered as part of Judge Snow's sanction against the defendants when it was revealed that the MCSO had destroyed documents requested by the defense and failed to retain e-mails related to Arpaio's anti-immigration sweeps, as the MCSO was required to do.

We're pretty much guaranteed a repeat performance by Arpaio and his thuggish underlings in the new round of videos, so it's no wonder Liddy wants them hidden from public view.

The new depos took place in November. Hopefully, the new year will bring with it some belated Christmas gifts, courtesy of Sheriff Joe.

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