Plaintiffs’ Attorneys in Arpaio Case Petition Court to “Admit Certain Exhibits”


by Sharon Rondeau

(Nov. 10, 2015) — In a new entry on Tuesday in the case of Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al, the court reports that the plaintiffs have filed a “MOTION TO ADMIT CERTAIN EXHIBITS BASED ON MICHAEL ZULLOS INVOCATION OF HIS FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHT NOT TO TESTIFY.”

The case, filed in December 2007, involves a number of Hispanic plaintiffs who claim that Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, his deputies and Maricopa County violated their civil and constitutional rights while conducting traffic stops and immigration sweeps.

In April, U.S. District Court to Judge G. Murray Snow convened hearings to determine whether or not Arpaio’s admission the month before to having failed to carry out Snow’s order to cease immigration patrols was a civil or criminal violation.

In Arizona, a county sheriff may deputize an individual to carry out specific tasks under his office’s authority.  In the fall of 2013, Arpaio commissioned Zullo to oversee the work of a confidential informant for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), Dennis Montgomery, along with one or two of his detectives.

The probe reportedly ended in the spring.

During testimony on April 23, Arpaio told Snow that Montgomery had produced mostly “junk” following Montgomery’s claim to have possessed evidence of the wiretapping of telephone lines within the Sheriff’s office as well as breaches of thousands of Maricopa County residents’ bank accounts.

Montgomery also had reported that the email accounts of federal judges in Arizona, one of whom was Snow, were breached by a government entity.

Referring to an article in the Phoenix New Times dated June 4, 2014, Snow had asked if it were true, as the title of the article indicated, that Montgomery was seeking to prove a connection between Snow and the Department of Justice in a plot against Arpaio. The article had referred to Montgomery as a “Seattle scammer” based on previous reports terming him a “con man” who nonetheless was paid millions of dollars by the federal government on a contractual basis following the attacks of 9/11.

The results Montgomery produced were reportedly provided to Zullo and Arpaio, who turned them over to the court beginning in late April.  However, after Zullo discovered that he had no representation, he asked Arpaio’s attorneys to withhold 87 exhibits in order to protect his “due process” rights.

Zullo was subpoenaed as a witness in the lawsuit on October 23 and November 9, 2015.  On October 23, he declined to answer questions on the grounds that he believed he possessed the constitutional right to remain silent.  Just days before, Zullo learned that attorneys representing one of the defendants, contrary to their previous statements, were not providing him with representation also.

Appearing as document #1532, the newest motion identifies Zullo as both a participant in the “Seattle Investigation” and “a member” of the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse.

In their motion, plaintiffs’ attorneys summarized Zullo’s deposition on Monday in the first paragraph:

They now seek the court’s approval to consider Zullo’s refusal to “authenticate certain documents and exhibits” “an adverse inference,” as predicted by Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times earlier on Tuesday.

Lemons, whose source is reportedly plaintiffs’ attorney Cecillia Wang, released some of the exhibits after Snow approved them for public consumption. “Documents that the defense and Zullo sought to shield from public scrutiny still are to come,” Lemons contended.

A transcript of Monday’s deposition is here:  file0.780946723223803

Attachment 3 to the plaintiffs’ new filing is proposed wording should Snow grant the motion.  file0.200023297025961