An all-access pass. That's what aging action film stud Steven Seagal, star of the cheesy A&E series Steven Seagal: Lawman gets in his contract with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In fact, Seagal may have better access than the U.S. Department of Justice, which is still investigating the MCSO for alleged civil rights violations. (That's separate from a criminal probe of Arpaio's office, by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office and other DOJ operatives.)
Arpaio's fought the federal legal beagles looking into him. At one point he refused to cooperate with the inquiry, the feds sued, and Arpaio finally backed down and allowed investigators to inspect his jails, look through his records, and interview sheriff's office employees.
But Seagal and Kirkstall Road Enterprises, which is producing the third season of the Seagal show for A&E? They get the gold pass, baby. Check out this passage from the agreement below:
(Read the full boilerplate for yourself,here.)
KRE keeps all the rights for all time, natch. No money is changing hands, though of course, there is all of the moolah Arpaio wastes staging busts for Seagal's benefit. Like the overkill of arresting one guy running a cockfight with Seagal, his TV crew, and the MCSO SWAT team in tow. Or doing a jail-wide "toss" looking for contraband, just for Segal's show.
Interestingly, the MCSO is allowed to review the episodes first and make suggestions. Stone-faced Deputy Chief Brian Sands has that job. He's used to reviewing video footage, particularly when someone in the jail is beaten to death by other inmates or by MCSO staff, which is all too often.
According to one section of the contract, Arpaio is precluded from doing any advance publicity for the A&E show without the consent of the producer. See the following:
This stipulates that the agreement is "confidential." I got my copy through a public records request with the county. My public records request to the MCSO for all documents related to the Seagal show has so far been ignored, contrary to Arizona public records law.
In other Seagal-related scuttlebutt, the Machete star will be partying with Republicans on March 28 at the home of Arizona Attorney General spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico, raising money for Attorney General Tom Horne. The Facebook page for the fundraiser indicates this will be to help Horne retire a $345K campaign debt from his 2010 run against Democratic contender Felecia Rotellini.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will be in attendance, along with many of the usual suspects, such as PR sleaze Jason Rose, Brewer's political adviser Chuck Coughlin, local horse racing kingpin Jerry Simms, and Dennis Wilenchik, erstwhile pal to ex-Maricopa County Attorney and current political pariah Andrew Thomas. If you care to rub shoulders with this parade of rogues and scoundrels, $300 is the suggested contribution.
(Check the invite, here.)
Curiously absent from the list of those on the "host committee" is Sheriff Joe, which seems a little odd, considering that Seagal's running around Phoenix with Arpaio's boys in beige. But then, Joe did endorse Thomas in the GOP primary for AG...
BTW, at the cockfight bust last week, Arpaio was bragging about Seagal being in his posse. Seagal had an odd comment for reporters.
"I mean I really don't know about the posse," he said. "I know I'm on loan from Louisiana."
"On loan from Louisiana"? As I've blogged recently, Seagal was practically run out of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana on a hot rail after allegations surfaced in a lawsuit accusing Seagal of sex trafficking and hostile work environment. The lawsuit has since been dropped, but prior to that, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand sent Seagal packing.
Alas, Maricopa County's version of the fictional Buford T. Justice lacks the shame that Sheriff Normand evidently retains.