If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my free Email alerts. Thanks for visiting!


by Sharon Rondeau

The Bill of Rights contains the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Amendment provides for a grand jury review of evidence for anyone accused of an “infamous” crime, the right to remain silent, and prohibits trying a defendant twice for the same offense.

(Nov. 11, 2015) — In an article posted on Tuesday evening, Associated Press reporter Jacques Billeaud referred to “federal prosecutors” while relating that Mike Zullo invoked the Fifth Amendment during his testimony in the case of Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al earlier that day.

Melendres is a federal civil rights lawsuit filed in December 2007 against Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, several of his deputies, and Maricopa County by Latinos who claimed they were the victims of racial profiling.  In December 2013, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow, who appears to have made comments about disliking Arpaio and wishing to see him leave office in 2011, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered that Arpaio cease immigration patrols which had been previously authorized by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security.

In March, Arpaio admitted to having failed to carry out Snow’s order to cease immigration patrols, after which Snow scheduled a bench trial for civil contempt against the sheriff and other defendants.

During testimony the following month, Snow unexpectedly questioned Arpaio about an investigation commissioned by his office involving confidential informant Dennis Montgomery.

Late in 2013, Montgomery reportedly sent a facsimile to Arpaio’s office claiming to have evidence that Snow, the U.S. Department of Justice and other parties with interest in Melendres had contacted one another and that the banking information of approximately 150,000 Maricopa County residents had been breached by a government entity.

Arpaio made the decision to hire Montgomery to produce the evidence he claimed to have, assigning Zullo and two detectives to oversee the project. Montgomery’s work for the sheriff concluded in the spring, after which he provided his evidence to Arpaio and Zullo.

Following Arpaio and his chief deputy’s testimony in April, Snow ordered all materials associated with Montgomery’s work turned over to the court in an apparent quest to discover whether or not Arpaio had sought personal information about him or his relatives.  Snow was also attempting to validate a “bogus conspiracy theory,” as was reported by the Phoenix New Times on June 4, 2014 stating that Arpaio was “Investigating Federal Judge G. Murray Snow, DOJ, Sources Say, and Using a Seattle Scammer To Do It.”

Zullo was deposed as a witness on October 23 and November 9 by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, primarily by Stanley Young of Covington & Burling, during which Zullo invoked his Fifth Amendment right to decline to answer questions.

In a video report accompanying the article, Zullo is shown speaking briefly with a local reporter following Tuesday’s hearing.  While Zullo “took the Fifth” in commenting about the case, he told the reporter that “due process” rights are involved, citing the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Many of the delegates who attended the 1787 Constitutional Convention were hesitant to approve the new constitution without an explicit statement of individual rights to prevent overreach by a central government.

“It’s about your due process rights,” Zullo told the reporter.

In the fifth paragraph, Billeaud reported that “As the leader of one of Arpaio’s posses, Zullo led the sheriff’s 2012 investigation into the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and was assigned to a probe that critics say targeted U.S. District Judge Murray Snow. The judge had ordered a sweeping overhaul of Arpaio’s office in 2013 after finding his officers had profiled Latinos.”

Billeaud did not include the determination by the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse that Obama’s long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration form are “computer-generated forgeries” as declared by Arpaio and Zullo in two press conferences on March 1, 2012 and July 17, 2012, respectively.

The mainstream press failed to investigate the posse’s findings, as did Congress.

KPHO reporter Mike Watkiss characterized Zullo as a “long-time confidante and loyalist” of Arpaio’s and the Montgomery investigation as “notorious.”

In the 11th paragraph, Billeaud referenced unnamed “federal prosecutors” having “declined a request two weeks ago from an Arpaio lawyer to grant Zullo immunity.”  Last Friday, Snow told Zullo during oral argument on Zullo’s request for a protective order that although his Fifth Amendment rights were purportedly intact, “the U.S. government may choose to prosecute you.”

In a flow chart filed with Melendres document #1396, Montgomery appears to allege that a number of phone calls took place among Snow and the Department of Justice, attorneys for Covington & Burling, and a former law clerk of Snow’s, John Gray, who went to work for Perkins Coie, a firm that has represented Obama in presidential eligibility litigation and in obtaining a copy of Obama’s purported “long-form” birth certificate in April 2011.  Montgomery also reported “firewall breaches” of internet domains to include “mcso.maricopa.gov” and “mcao.maricopa.gov.”

At the center of the chart are the names of former Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer, both of whom are now “partners” at Covington & Burling.

The Associated Press has reported that in the past, Arpaio has attempted to retaliate with investigations against judges and other officials who have opposed him.  Arpaio has denied that he used Montgomery to investigate Snow in any way.

Arpaio is serving his sixth consecutive term as Maricopa County Sheriff and intends to seek re-election in 2016.

While Billeaud claimed that Zullo invoked the Fifth Amendment 37 times on Tuesday, the Phoenix New Times reported the number as 40.