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Joel Fox Portion of Babeu Report to Remain Under Wraps Until Disciplinary Process Complete, Judge Rules

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office can keep large portions of the Babeu report hidden until Captain Joel Fox's disciplinary process is complete, a judge told the Arizona Republic and Channel 12 News (KPNX) today.

The newspaper and TV station had sued the MCSO to force an immediate and complete disclosure of the report, which contains the conclusions of a six-month internal investigation into Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office. The Sheriff's Office released a 1,022-page summary and some supplemental reports early last month, but about a third of the material has been blacked out.

The Sheriff's Office had maintained that state law prohibits the release of documents related to the part of the investigation that deals with Fox until he'd exhausted the agency's disciplinary appeals process.

Superior Court Judge Sam Myers agreed, adding that his own review of the unredacted version of the documents show that Arpaio's office hadn't held back anything inappropriately.

Myers stated in his ruling that Arpaio must release the full version to the public within 30 days of the end of Fox's appeal rights.

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Two other men who were targets of the internal investigation, Dave Hendershott and Larry Black -- Arpaio's top aides -- were fired by Arpaio last month.

Despite statements by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to the contrary, the parts of the report that have been released show clearly that Arpaio knew key details about the abusive, politically oriented criminal investigations of his enemies.

New Times covered Fox's involvement in the SCA campaign finance scandal in a feature-length article in April.

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