BUT FOR WHAT REASON?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 21, 2015) — In a brief dated June 12, 2015, an attorney for the plaintiffs in Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al acknowledged that documentation ordered by U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow to be provided to the court by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) developed by a confidential informant was turned over on May 6.
Snow had ordered the information to be given not only to him, but also to his monitor appointee, Robert Warshaw, whose responsibility it is to oversee the MCSO’s compliance with Snow’s orders issued in late 2013 regarding racial profiling within the sheriff’s office.
After Marcicopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio appealed Snow’s December 2013 ruling that his staff had conducted racially-motivated traffic stops and immigration patrols to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-judge panel upheld Snow’s ruling but limited the role of the court-appointed monitor to curing “constitutional violations.”
In March, Arpaio and his chief deputy, Gerard Sheridan, admitted through counsel that they had not adhered strictly to some of Snow’s orders. Arpaio offered a year’s salary from his personal funds to be awarded to the plaintiffs as compensation and proposed that the scheduled civil contempt trial be canceled. Snow refused the offer, choosing instead to move ahead with the trial beginning on April 21.
In 2010, Snow had presided by a reported “random draw” over a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against Arpaio which was ultimately resolved out of court in June 2011.
On April 23, 2015, Arpaio testified in the civil contempt trial, and on April 24, Sheridan was called as a witness. During questioning by Snow, Arpaio and Sheridan each confirmed that a private investigator hired by one of Arpaio’s attorneys had looked into the veracity of a citizen’s report that Snow’s wife had relayed disparaging remarks allegedly made by her husband indicating that Snow was determined to see that Arpaio is not re-elected in 2016.
Arpaio told the court that the probe found that the source of the reported comments was credible. Sheridan said that the matter had gone no further, including that there was no “investigation” of Snow personally.
Wang’s filing contains a copy of an article held up by Snow during the April hearings published by the Phoenix New Times (PNT) on June 4, 2014 titled, “Joe Arpaio’s Investigating Federal Judge G. Murray Snow, DOJ, Sources Say, and Using a Seattle Scammer To Do It.” Snow asked Arpaio if the article were accurate, to which Arpaio had responded, “No.”
By its style, commentary and use of words such as “flunkies,” characterizing Arpaio as a “cartoon coyote,” and a description of MCSO spokeswoman Lisa Allen as Arpaio’s “top flack,” the Phoenix New Times cannot be considered impartial by any journalistic standard.
Wang’s affidavit can be read here: Melendres Wang Affidavit
In the article, PNT writer Stephen Lemons cited “sources” within the MCSO as having told him that the confidential informant, Dennis Montgomery, sought to uncover a “bizarre conspiracy theory that the DOJ and Snow have conspired to somehow ‘get’ Joe Arpaio.”
Lemons also attempted to denigrate the investigation conducted by the Cold Case Posse into Obama’s documentation by referring to two press conferences held in 2012 as “a rehash of debunked conspiracy theories.” During the second press conference, lead investigator Mike Zullo and Arpaio stated that the standard of probable cause in regard to the forgery of Obama’s long-form birth certificate had been surpassed and that they were aware of the computer which had been used to upload the image to the White House website on April 27, 2011.
On April 24, Snow asked Sheridan if Montgomery had been seeking evidence of “collusion” between Snow and the Department of Justice, to which Sheridan responded that there was no evidence indicating that Snow had been colluding with anyone. In his testimony the day before, Arpaio stated that Montgomery’s information had shown that the email accounts of a number of federal judges, including Snow, had been breached by a government entity.
In her brief of June 12, Wang insisted that Snow is impartial. Another attorney, Stephen Gillers, who is not a party to the case, filed a brief opposing Snow’s removal. Melendres Stephen Gillers Affidavit
Atty. Larry Klayman, who represents Montgomery, also asked Snow to recuse himself after Snow issued his order for Montgomery’s materials, including two hard drives, which Montgomery had provided to Arpaio. A former CIA contractor, Montgomery may have provided documentation that the CIA had breached certain phone lines of the MCSO. Also reported was that Montgomery contended that tens of thousands of bank accounts of Maricopa County residents had been breached.
Klayman represents Arpaio in an unrelated lawsuit challenging Obama’s executive actions on illegal aliens announced on November 20, 2014, which are now on hold as the result of a separate lawsuit filed by 26 states.
On page 2 of Wang’s brief, she revealed that emails exchanged between Zullo and Klayman were included in the documentation turned over at Snow’s order by the MCSO.
Also included were emails between Klayman and Brian Mackiewicz, an MCSO detective who had reportedly worked with Montgomery. Wang lettered the exhibits containing the emails as B-H but redacted them by agreement of the court after reviewing them on an “attorneys’-eyes-only” basis.
Klayman represented Montgomery in his attempt to intervene in Melendres after Snow ordered his work product to be provided to the court. Appealing to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last month, Klayman asked that it mandate Snow’s recusal from the case and maintained that Montgomery’s “work product privilege with his attorney has been trampled” by Snow’s order.
Calling the Phoenix New Times “unreliable,” “partisan,” and “disreputable,” Klayman stated that Lemons “hates Sheriff Arpaio and has done everything possible to have his reputation tarnished and removed from office…”
In support of Snow’s recusal, Klayman wrote that “Judge Snow has confused Dennis Montgomery’s alleged other, unrelated work for MCSO as being about Judge Snow. This shows the effects of a lack of objectivity that results from personal interests. A different judge must hear these matters.”
Klayman alleges that Montgomery possesses valuable information about the National Security Agency (NSA) and should be deposed in private by a judge presiding over Klayman’s lawsuit accusing the NSA of constitutional violations adjudicated in Klayman’s favor in December 2013. According to a WND article dated April 30, 2015, Montgomery has found that “intelligence agencies have even spied on and collected private and personal information on Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.”
Klayman has stated that “Obama” prompted a DOJ investigation of Arpaio which abruptly ended in late August 2012; however, a different lawsuit alleging civil rights violations against Latinos was filed against Arpaio by the same government agency in May of that year for which a trial is scheduled to begin on August 10.
Early this month, Snow ruled subsequent to his order to take custody of Montgomery’s information that a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to acquire two hard drives provided by Montgomery was not to be facilitated “voluntarily” by Warshaw.