Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Investigating Federal Judge G. Murray Snow, DOJ, Sources Say, and Using a Seattle Scammer To Do It

Page 2 of 3

At some point, Arpaio's "birther" investigation came up. You know, the one in which President Barack Obama's birth certificate gets investigated by both the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's Cold Case Posse, a nonprofit organization, and MCSO Deputy Brian Mackiewicz, whom Arpaio flew to Hawaii as part of this snipe hunt, at a cost of nearly $10,000 to taxpayers.

Arpaio's March 2012 press conference -- in which the sheriff and the Cold Case Posse's "lead investigator," ex-used-car salesman Mike Zullo, declared Obama's birth certificate to be a forgery -- was in the planning stage when the scene was filmed.

At the mere mention of the birther investigation and the future press event, Allen and Willems practically rolled their eyes.

Willems called the birther probe "nuts."

Allen said the sheriff might as well go the press conference "in big ol' clown shoes." Arpaio shrugged, literally.

"There ain't gonna be no damage control," Arpaio promised Willems. "You'll get more money [in campaign contributions] than you'll know what to do with."

Wilier than the cartoon coyote, Arpaio had tapped into a nationwide right-wing anti-government, anti-Obama feeding frenzy with his birther probe and with his tirades against the U.S. Department of Justice, which was investigating him for abuse of power and other issues and is now suing him in federal court.

"The DOJ is a hot item everywhere," Joe told his flunkies.

See, whenever Arpaio's never-ending political campaign sends out an e-mail blast begging for loot from Obama-haters, it reels in contributions from retired, far-right ofays all over the country.

Willems essentially admitted as much in another scene from the film.

"Now, with Arpaio going to battle with Barack Obama," Willems said, "it's meant literally millions of dollars for his campaign."

As everybody knows, Arpaio was re-elected in 2012, but the investigation into Obama's birth certificate continues apace, according to both Arpaio and Cold Case Posse "commander" Zullo.

At the beginning of May, Arpaio mentioned the birther probe during a speech before a group of Silicon Valley conservatives.

Around the same time, he appeared on The Right Side, a conservative cable-access show in Mountain View, California. He told host Chris Pareja that the inquiry into Obama's birth certificate was going strong.

"I'm not done with that yet," Arpaio insisted. "People think I surrendered. No . . . I'm trying to find out who's behind it now. That's the key. You can always have a crime to investigate, but I think you would like to know who did it."

The sheriff said he was after whoever created this "forged, fraudulent document," meaning a computer scan of the president's long-form birth certificate, released by the White House in April 2011.

Arpaio's statements have paralleled assurances from Zullo during periodic interviews with Florida pastor/radio host Carl Gallups that new revelations concerning the Obama birth certificate are on the way.

Critics of birthers regularly mock Zullo's vague pronouncements on Gallups' show as never resulting in any "new" finds.

Why, even the information disclosed during Arpaio's two birther-themed press conferences in 2012 were a rehash of debunked conspiracy theories.

But during a February interview with Gallups, Zullo caused an Internet kerfuffle when he told Gallups' audience that there were now two investigations: the original birther one and an offshoot of the birther probe, this one a criminal investigation.

Moreover, the second investigation was using two MCSO detectives and, presumably, county money.

"I don't know how this is all going to play out," Zullo said. "I know that [in] the criminal investigation that we're working on now, Sheriff Arpaio has dedicated resources and two full-time Maricopa County Sheriff's Office detectives."

He added, "These are seasoned pros [who] are working this. These are the guys that go hunt down the really bad guys."

Zullo promised to release "universe-shattering" results of these investigations in March, a deadline Zullo since has extended indefinitely.

Blogger Mitch Martinson of arizonaspolitics.com was the first to query the MCSO on Zullo's claim, and the first to report that Sheriff's Office spokesman Brandon Jones kinda-sorta had confirmed it.

"We have two sheriff's detectives assigned to look into other issues surrounding the birth certificate," Jones told Martinson, in a blog item posted February 10. "However, they are not investigating the birth certificate issue itself."

Later, Jones walked back his comments to Martinson, sending the blogger an e-mail, which Martinson used in a screen shot to a follow-up post.

"Mitch, I was misinformed," Jones stated. "The detectives are not working on anything regarding the birth certificate. Not even surrounding. Mr. Zullo was incorrect: They are working on other serious cases not even related."

Who were these two detectives, what were they up to, and why is Zullo, a mere posse member, privy to it?

Based on information given to me by longtime sources, the two detectives mentioned are Brian Mackiewicz, the same deputy who made a taxpayer-funded run to Hawaii in May 2012, and Sergeant Travis Anglin, once a lieutenant with the notorious Maricopa Anti-Corruption Effort who was demoted after an MCSO investigation into his private security company and its use of MCSO detectives.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons