The Nooses Must Be Cut Down

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In front of the assembled press corps, Wilenchik branded Judge Ryan "a threat to public safety."

This is the pattern of Arpaio and Thomas. Anyone who criticizes becomes the target of a campaign of terror — and the law be damned.

The abuse of the grand jury process by Arpaio and Thomas in not new.

In 2007, my arrest and jailing, as well as the arrest of this newspaper's publisher, Jim Larkin, followed our publishing a cover story revealing that the paper and its reporters were the target of grand jury subpoenas that sought all notes on any story about Arpaio.

Lost in the media firestorm that followed our arrests was the content of precisely what Arpaio and Thomas sought with their grand jury subpoenas.

They specifically sought the identity of any New Times reader who had clicked on any Arpaio story online over a three-year period. The lawmen also wanted to know the online viewing habits of our readers, as well as their online shopping.

Following the publication of the story, Wilenchik also demanded the arrest of our attorneys and an estimated $90 million in fines that would have put us out of business.

When the Republic published Polk's letter, two things happened: Arpaio's chief deputy, Hendershott, retaliated and asked the FBI to investigate her; County Attorney Andrew Thomas asked the courts to investigate a conspiracy among his fellow prosecutors to discredit him.

Neither prosecutors nor journalists, not judges nor public officials, may criticize or disagree with Thomas and Arpaio without risk of imprisonment.

Polk did the right thing.

Now it is up to Goddard and Obama.

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey