REQUESTS HARD DRIVES GIVEN TO MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE BY CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 30, 2015) — On Friday, an attorney representing Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and Maricopa County filed an “Objection to Procedure Set Forth By Court” brief in the case of Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres, et al v. Joseph M. Arpaio, et al, Case No. 2:07-cv-02513-GMS.
The document is #1138 in the case as listed on the pacer.gov website and objects to the request in document #1134 titled “AMENDED NOTICE RE DOCUMENT REQUEST BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE” for copies of hard drives reportedly provided to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office by a confidential informant, Dennis Montgomery.
Montgomery was represented by Atty. Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch, in an intervenor’s motion filed in the Arpaio case several weeks ago. As of this writing, neither Klayman nor anyone else working on Montgomery’s behalf appears to have filed a brief responding to the U.S. Department of Justice’s request to take custody of the hard drives.
Klayman represents Montgomery in a lawsuit against James Risen, who published a book titled “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War” last October which claims in several chapters that Montgomery’s decoding technologies, used by the George W. Bush administration in the years following the 9/11 attacks, were fraudulent. Among the claims lodged against Risen and his co-defendants is that “Defendants’ defamation of Plaintiff Montgomery is false and misleading, including but not limited to the fact that Plaintiff Montgomery and his partners turned down other contracts of equal or greater profitability with private companies, but were urged by Government officials to help the Government for national defense instead.”
A review of Risen’s book written by the dean of St. Andrews University in Scotland in The New York Times states that “Risen’s fast-paced, accessible prose and his finely drawn detail make the book read like an implausible thriller. The tragedy is that, however implausible, it all appears to be true.” In her conclusion, Louise Richardson asserted:
This is an important and powerful book that should be read by anyone who believes it is time to take stock after 13 years and re-evaluate the nature of the threat the country faces and its response to the atrocity of 9/11. I would also make it required reading for policy makers. As they plan the response to the next terrorist attack, they should put in place mechanisms to ensure that longstanding principles of oversight and accountability are not jettisoned, and that the need for security is not deployed as a pretext for casually abandoning the openness on which American society thrives.
The notice of the Justice Department’s request in Melendres is signed by U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow. One week before, Arpaio’s counsel asked Snow to recuse himself from the case for conflict of interest which Snow indicated he is considering by canceling two status hearings previously scheduled for May 29 and June 12, respectively.
In the Motion for Recusal or Disqualification dated May 22, Arpaio’s counsel wrote, in part:
The mainstream media has generally not questioned Snow’s impartiality given that comments his wife was reported to have made to a fellow restaurant patron in 2011 indicated that her husband wished to see Arpaio defeated in his bid for re-election the following year. One of Arpaio’s attorneys hired a private investigator to check on the veracity of Karen Grissom’s report of Snow’s wife’s comments and found Grissom and two of her family members’ accounts of the event credible.
Instead, major media characterized the investigation as one of Snow’s wife.
Arpaio’s attorneys additionally contend that Snow is conflicted by having questioned witnesses outside of court by his own admission, referred to an overtly biased article in The Phoenix New Times, and ordered that the research materials which Montgomery provided Arpaio be isolated and given to the court-appointed monitor over the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Robert Warshaw.
The Phoenix New Times has referred to Arpaio as a “serial racist.”
Warshaw was appointed early last year to “monitor efforts by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to carry out court-ordered changes” resulting from Snow’s December 2013 ruling that Arpaio’s deputies had violated the civil rights of Latinos during traffic stops. Warshaw is a partner in the firm Police Performance Solutions LLC and the former police chief of Rochester, NY and Statesville, NC. He also worked in the Clinton administration as a deputy drug enforcement agent.
Last week, Warshaw did not respond to an interview request from The Post & Email, although his partner at PPS LLC, Chief Charles Reynolds, spoke with us at length about how monitors are appointed and the scope of their responsibilities. Reynolds explained that at times, a new company is created for a specific monitoring assignment.
During the conversation, Reynolds informed The Post & Email that Warshaw does not normally provide interviews but agreed to pass on our contact information. Reynolds mentioned that Warshaw heads another firm, Warshaw & Associates, which an editorial writer in The Niagara Falls Reporter of April 23, 2013 said “billed the city at the rate of $200 per hour to review documents and reports.” The year prior, Warshaw’s company was reportedly paid $165,000 by the City of Niagara Falls for its police-department monitoring contract. The author of the article, Frank Parlato, stated that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was involved in the decision to appoint Warshaw as monitor over the Niagara Falls Police Department.
Warshaw was reportedly suggested as a monitor for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office by attorneys for the Melendres plaintiffs before his selection by Snow. According to Reuters on January 17, 2014, “The monitor’s duties are to include reviewing the sheriff office’s policies and procedures, as well as making sure that its operations are carried out in a ‘race-neutral fashion,’ according to the judge’s earlier order.”
The same report quoted Arpaio as having responded to the monitor’s appointment with, “His role as monitor is quite limited by the court ruling, and we will work with him and his team to accomplish the ruling’s objectives until such time as the appeal process is decided.”
Warshaw’s court-appointed monitoring of the Detroit, Niagara Falls and Oakland, CA Police Departments is ongoing. In 2012, Warshaw was accused of “improprieties” by then-Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana.
According to the Niagara Falls Reporter on July 16, 2013, the federal judge who appointed Warshaw to Oakland, Thelton E. Henderson, “ordered all information regarding the alleged sexual impropriety sealed forever from public view.” A San Francisco newspaper issued a similar report in August 2012. In October 2012, a Detroit newspaper reported that “Oakland attorneys John Burris and Jim Chanin, who are involved in monitoring the Oakland Police Department, have demanded an investigation into who leaked Santana’s allegations to the press.”
On April 1, 2014, the Contra Costa (CA) Times reported:
The federal monitor overseeing the Oakland Police Department is getting another raise, bringing his firms’ annual compensation above $1 million.
Acting on the order of U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, the Oakland City Council on Tuesday approved a $165,000 contract for Robert Warshaw to cover his expanded role overseeing the department.
Contra Costa added that Warshaw & Associates was formed in response to “handle the oversight role” it played in Oakland and accordingly “asked for more public money to cover the costs of insurance and business license taxes.”
According to the Niagara Falls Reporter on January 29, 2013, Santana had alleged that “Warshaw created an environment in which my role as City Administrator has been impaired.”
In her three-page brief, Arpaio’s defense attorney, Michele M. Iafrate, objected to the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for copies of the hard drives allegedly provided to Arpaio’s office given that Justice is not a party to the case.
Iafrate also objected on the basis that “the Court exceeded its authority while the case is stayed” following Snow’s canceling of the two status hearings in order for him to consider whether or not he would recuse himself from the case.
Klayman represents Arpaio in a lawsuit challenging Obama’s executive actions on illegal aliens announced in November. Last week, a three-judge panel at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a temporary injunction issued in February on the implementation of the actions will remain in place. The Obama regime declined to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, at least in the short term.
Many mainstream media reports do not mention that Montgomery, who was a contractor for the CIA and NSA, reportedly informed Arpaio that “someone” had breached more than 50,000 bank accounts of Maricopa County residents as well as monitored email accounts and telephones of attorneys representing Arpaio in a different lawsuit brought against his office by the U.S. Department of Justice in May 2012.
Klayman claims that Montgomery has valuable information regarding the NSA’s spying on American citizens which should be imparted to the judge presiding over a case in which Judge Richard Leon ruled that the surveillance was “likely unconstitutional” in December 2013. While the CIA reportedly “doesn’t do domestic surveillance, unless it is pursuing foreign intelligence,” Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan, issued an apology to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee last July “after previously denying the accusations” of spying on the committee’s activities.
On April 24, Arpaio’s chief deputy, Gerard Sheridan, testified that information Montgomery had provided was shared with then-Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne but that “the investigation went nowhere” “because we found it difficult to determine the credibility of the informant” (pp. 143-144).
However, Sheridan also testified that “Montgomery also had shown the sheriff’s office evidence of DOJ wiretaps of Arpaio and his lawyers, and said the DOJ had obtained Snow’s emails.” On the same day, Snow asked Sheridan if evidence had surfaced from Montgomery that there was “improper collusion between me and the Department of Justice” (p. 185). Sheridan responded that “there was really nothing to think that there was any collusion” (p. 186).
Sheridan also told the court that a FISA judge in Washington, DC had confirmed that codes Montgomery identified as having been used for surveillance are, in fact, authentic.
An Associated Press article dated May 29 reported of Justice’s request for Montgomery’s materials that “It’s unknown what the Justice Department plans to do with the documents.” The media has not questioned whether or not Snow had the authority to order Montgomery’s investigative materials to be turned over to Warshaw nor whether the Justice Department has the legal authority to intervene in the matter.
In September 2011, Arpaio asked his Cold Case Posse to investigate the authenticity of the long-form birth certificate image posted on the White House website on April 27 of that year at the request of 250 constituents and members of the Surprise, AZ Tea Party. On March 1, 2012, Cold Case Posse lead investigator Michael Zullo and Arpaio held a press conference in which they announced that the image, as well as a purported Selective Service registration form bearing Obama’s name disseminated to members of the public through FOIA requests, are “computer-generated forgeries.”
On July 17, 2012, Arpaio and Zullo held a second presser in which they said that the standard of probable cause of forgery regarding the birth certificate was surpassed, calling upon Congress and the media to launch their own investigations.
In late 2013, Zullo told Carl Gallups on his “Freedom Friday” radio show that Arpaio had launched a second criminal investigation stemming from, but not related to, the birth certificate and Selective Service form probe carried out by the Cold Case Posse.