by Sharon Rondeau

(Jun. 25, 2015) — In a shocking development in the case of Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al, Attys. Larry Klayman and Jonathon Moseley of Freedom Watch have written a brief in which they allege that plaintiffs’ attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were previously approached by a confidential informant about issues arising during civil contempt proceedings in April without disclosing that fact to the court.

As of press time, the brief does not appear on PACER.gov, the website containing all federal civil and criminal lawsuits, but the document and its accompanying letter to the ACLU parties is stamped “FILED” with a date of June 24, 2015 by the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona.

Melendres Third Supplement to Motion for Reconsideration

Klayman, who represents confidential informant Dennis Montgomery, and Moseley, whose pro hac vice status is pending in Arizona, have therefore asked ACLU Attys. Daniel J. Pachoda, Cecillia D. Wang, Andre I. Segura and Joshua Bendor to immediately recuse themselves from the case, report themselves to “local, state and federal authorities” for misconduct, and to mitigate the alleged damages to Montgomery’s reputation.

Filed in late 2007, Melendres alleged that Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and his staff engaged in racial profiling during neighborhood sweeps and traffic stops in search of illegal aliens. In December 2013, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and set forth a means by which the constitutional violations he identified would be remedied.

Snow then appointed ACLU-recommended monitor Robert Warshaw to oversee that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) came into compliance with his orders over a period of time.  Additional mandates included the wearing of body cameras by deputies, a particular method to collect the data, and quarterly reports to be submitted to the court to document MCSO’s compliance progress.

In March, Arpaio and his chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, admitted that they had not followed Snow’s orders in all cases, for which Snow scheduled a bench trial for civil contempt commencing on April 21.  Previous to that date, Arpaio had offered $100,000 of his personal funds equating to a year’s salary to compensate the plaintiffs, which Snow declined.

During Arpaio’s testimony on April 23, Snow opened a line of questioning into the MCSO’s hiring of a confidential informant identified as Dennis Montgomery, even though the investigation Montgomery had been conducting was disassociated from the contempt proceedings. Referring to an article in The Phoenix New Times dated June 4, 2014, Snow asked if it were true that Montgomery had been investigating whether Snow was “colluding” with the U.S. Department of Justice against Arpaio.

The New Times labeled Montgomery a “Seattle scammer,” citing unnamed sources from within the MCSO as having provided the tips as to the basis of Montgomery’s work.

Arpaio and Sheridan also responded to Snow’s questioning about a second investigation into the veracity of a citizen report of derogatory comments Snow’s wife allegedly conveyed in a restaurant about Arpaio, including Snow’s alleged expressed desire to see that Arpaio was not reelected.  Neither Snow nor his wife has denied that the comments were made, and Arpaio testified that the reports of Karen Grissom, her husband and adult son were found to be credible.

The mainstream media mischaracterized the brief probe into the credibility of those reporting the comments as an investigation of Snow, his wife, or both. “Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio took the stand again Thursday to testify about his role in repeatedly violating a federal judge’s order. While under oath, the sheriff made a surprising admission that the judge’s wife had been the focus of a secret investigation,” reported Jude Joffe-Block on April 23 for KJZZ.

Some reported that Arpaio had investigated Snow’s “family.”

In early May, Arpaio’s attorneys asked Snow to recuse himself, with the plaintiffs’ attorneys opposing that motion.  At approximately the same time, Klayman represented Montgomery in a motion to intervene in Melendres along with a request for Snow to recuse himself filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which was denied, with the case remanded back to Snow.

In their June 24 brief, Klayman and Moseley describe Montgomery as a “former client” of the ACLU, and allege that the ACLU attorneys representing the Melendres plaintiffs have “flagrantly threatened criminal prosecution of Dennis Montgomery, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan and other personnel of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).”

Klayman concluded his brief with, “In my entire career as an attorney, as the founder of the legal ethics groups Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, I have never seen a violation of professional ethics and the fiduciary duty between attorney and client of this magnitude and scope. The ACLU and its attorneys must immediately withdraw from representation in the case and immediately notify Judge G. Murray Snow and appropriate local, state and federal authorities of it unethical and illegal actions.”

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