DEADLINE OCTOBER 30
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 28, 2015) — Last Wednesday, The Post & Email reported on an update to a lawsuit which in 2007 had named Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and others as defendants involving unfair targeting of Latinos styled Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al.
At present, the ACLU and the firm Covington & Burling represent the plaintiffs, in whose favor the court has largely decided over the years. The case has been presided over by U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow since July 2009 after the previous judge recused herself for a conflict of interest at the request of the defendants.
The new development last week involved the production of requested documentation from Maricopa County Cold Case Posse member Michael Zullo, who had contact with a confidential informant Arpaio’s office hired to supply evidence to support his claim that the federal government had breached approximately 150,000 Maricopa County residents’ bank accounts and possibly the email accounts of Arpaio’s attorneys, Snow and other federal judges.
The confidential informant is Dennis Montgomery, a former CIA and NSA contractor.
Hearings in a civil contempt charge against Arpaio arising from Melendres resumed in April after Arpaio admitted in March to not having followed Snow’s 2013 orders precisely to cease immigration patrols.
In early May, Arpaio’s attorneys requested that Snow recuse himself after Snow referred to an article in the Phoenix New Times bearing the headline, “Joe Arpaio’s Investigating Federal Judge G. Murray Snow, DOJ, Sources Say, and Using a Seattle Scammer To Do It.” Snow asked if it were true that he or his family members had been the subject of Montgomery’s investigation, termed “the Seattle operation.”
During the April hearings, Arpaio and Sheridan testified that Snow was not the subject of any MCSO investigation. On April 23, Arpaio testified that one of his attorneys hired a private investigator briefly to discover whether or not a citizen report submitted to Arpaio alleging that Snow’s wife had told her that her husband disliked Arpaio and wished to see him leave office was credible.
After Snow demanded Montgomery’s work product be turned over to the court, Mongtomery twice attempted to intervene in the case. Snow denied the motions.
Zullo has served as lead investigator of the Cold Case Posse’s 4+-year criminal investigation into the long-form birth certificate image posted on the White House website on April 27, 2011 and Obama’s purported Selective Service registration form which has been distributed to FOIA requesters over the last six years. On March 1, 2012, Zullo and Arpaio gave a press conference in which they declared that probable cause existed to believe that both “documents” are “computer-generated forgeries.”
The media has not launched its own investigations of the posse’s findings, nor has Congress, to the public’s knowledge.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Arpaio has “a reputation for retaliation” while revealing that a fax was reportedly received sometime in 2013 by Arpaio’s office which purported to provide “a timeline of key developments in the profiling case: It cited the judge’s assignment to the case, claimed federal authorities were wiretapping one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s aides, and suggested both happened shortly after the U.S. Justice Department allegedly called the judge.”
Documents, including a flow chart of alleged contacts among DOJ personnel, Snow, a former clerk in Snow’s office later employed by Perkins Coie, and Kyl as well as breaches of internet domains, have been filed in the Melendres case at pacer.gov in Arizona case number 07-2513.
In court testimony on April 24, Sheridan connected “the CIA” to the hypothetical wiretapping of the MCSO’s phones, while Snow appeared to connect the investigation to the Department of Justice.
The AP story reported that “Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe was charged with bribery in 2009 in a case brought by the sheriff’s office after Donahoe disqualified an Arpaio ally from an investigation. Donahoe received a $1.2 million settlement from the county after the charges were dismissed. But he said Arpaio was never held accountable for the unfounded case that damaged his reputation and caused him to spend $125,000 on attorneys.”
Donohoe was quoted as having said of Arpaio relative to the “retaliation” allegation that “He feels like he is above the law. He has no integrity… His tactic is, when he gets caught, is to say he knows nothing about it or doesn’t remember.”
On April 13, 2011, Linda Bentley of The Sonoran News reported that a 2010 claim Donohoe made in court about having made a campaign contribution proved to be untrue, according to an assistant to the campaign.
On Tuesday, The Post & Email contacted Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lisa Allen for comment on the AP article and the availability of the “fax” to which it had referred. Allen’s response reads:
The settlement statement is correct but the preceding sentence is not….bribery charges were brought by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office….but as far as I can recall had nothing to do with an ally being disqualified from an investigation…..what the author is referring to in that statement is unknown and unclear to me
While the AP article alleged that $250,000 had been expended by the MCSO for Montgomery’s work, it is The Post & Email’s understanding that none of the money paid to Montgomery was drawn from taxpayer funds.
Testimony in the civil contempt trial of Arpaio and several deputies is ongoing on Wednesday.
Last week, The Post & Email reported that Arpaio’s attorneys filed a document in Melendres pertaining to Zullo’s turning over of some of the documentation demanded by Snow and the plaintiffs through subpoenas issued last month. “Undersigned defense counsel is in possession of an additional material that Mr. Zullo has provided as being responsive to the subpoena. Defense counsel has conducted a review of this additional material, also. However, undersigned defense counsel is being prohibited by Mr. Zullo from producing any additional materials due to the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment and due process protections that Mr. Zullo believes may apply to him and the production of these additional materials. Moreover, undersigned defense counsel is informed that Mr. Zullo is seeking counsel to represent him. Absent further order of the Court after consideration of the concerns/protections raised by Mr. Zullo, undersigned defense counsel is left with no choice but to withhold the production of these additional materials that may be responsive to the Zullo subpoena,” the attorneys wrote.
The first two entries of a total of five in the Melendres case dated October 26, 2015 read (click twice to enlarge):
The third entry is a transcript request of the telephonic hearing by the plaintiffs, and the fifth is titled, “NOTICE OF FILING OF OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT” by court reporter Gary Moll.
The fourth entry bearing the date of October 26, 2015 reads:
|10/26/2015||1490||ORDER – Counsel for Sheriff Arpaio shall make a privilege log identifying any documents that should be withheld from Plaintiffs due to privilege, maintain copies of all privileged documents, and provide the log to Plaintiffs by October 28. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if Mr. Michael Zullo wishes to file a motion for a protective order asserting Fourth and/or Fifth Amendment defenses to the production of those documents, he must do so by October 30, 2015. If he fails to file such a motion, the Court will order production of all documents to Plaintiffs. Mr. Mel McDonald will communicate with the attorney in Atlanta with whom he has corresponded via email to inform him of these deadlines. Mr. Joe Popolizio will communicate with Mr. Zullo to inform him of these deadlines. Mr. Popolizio must inform the Court within a day if he intends to take the position that he represents Mr. Zullo. Signed by Judge G Murray Snow on 10/26/15. (ATD) (Entered: 10/26/2015)|
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.