WHAT WAS JUDGE’S PURPOSE IN PROBING CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT’S WORK?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 18, 2015) — Tea Party Power Hour host Mark Gillar has posted an interview with The Post & Email’s editor on the subject of judicial corruption, specifically as manifested in recent hearings in Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al, a civil rights case ongoing for the last eight years against Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and other defendants.
The judge presiding over the hearings, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow, was implicitly biased against Arpaio based on negative comments his wife said he made about wishing to see Arpaio replaced as sheriff in 2011, before the last election. Snow never denied having made the comments but refused to recuse himself, then delved into an investigation unrelated to the case before him, subpoenaing thousands of pages of documentation, hundreds of recordings and emails, and at least 50 hard drives connected to work conducted by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) confidential informant Dennis Montgomery.
Snow’s unexpected probe into Montgomery’s work stemmed from a June 2014 article in the Phoenix New Times, a publication which politically opposes Arpaio and his policies, which claimed that Arpaio was using Montgomery to “investigate” Snow and the U.S. Department of Justice in an attempt to identify a nefarious connection designed to guarantee a negative ruling for Arpaio in Melendres.
While early this year, Arpaio admitted to having failed to adhere to Snow’s 2011 injunction against Arpaio’s immigration patrols and offered to pay restitution to the plaintiffs out of his personal funds, Snow chose to go to trial, stating that the civil contempt charge was a foregone conclusion and that he would further seek to determine whether or not Arpaio should be charged with criminal contempt.
Local media have misreported several aspects of the case, including identifying Montgomery as a “private investigator;” stating that Arpaio admitted to having “conducted a secret investigation into federal Judge G. Murray Snow and his family;” and omitting the details of testimony given on November 12 and 13 by Mike Zullo, who assisted in the oversight of Montgomery’s progress in seeking to prove his initial claim to Arpaio that more than 150,000 Maricopa County residents’ bank accounts had been breached by a federal agency.
Montgomery is a former NSA and CIA contractor whose attorney, Larry Klayman, stated has information “potentially more egregious” than that which was disclosed by Edward Snowden in 2013 relative to the federal government’s surveillance and sweeping data-collection of citizens.
Zullo was subpoenaed to provide depositions on October 23 and November 9 and to testify in court on November 10, 12 and 13 without an attorney, for which Maricopa County declined to provide funds. In late October, Zullo filed a motion requesting that his testimony be delayed to allow him time to find an attorney which Snow denied.
Acting pro se, Zullo protested that his Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Amendment and due process rights were being violated, citing the case of United States v. Hubbell, for which Snow commended him but ultimately nevertheless compelled Zullo to testify without representation at the urging of plaintiffs’ attorneys.
Snow did not address Klayman’s lawsuit filed against plaintiffs’ ACLU attorneys in late June for allegedly failing to disclose that Montgomery was once their client, sharing the same information with the agency as he did with Arpaio beginning in November 2013.
In May, Klayman filed a motion on Montgomery’s behalf requesting to intervene in the case to withhold his work product from court scrutiny, also asking Snow to recuse himself. Snow denied the intervenor’s motion but granted one filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, one of whose legal representatives is not only acquainted with Montgomery, but also may have ordered a 2006 raid on his home later declared unconstitutional by a federal magistrate and her superior, a federal judge.
During a November 6 conference, Snow told Zullo that although the case over which he presided was civil, “the U.S. government may choose to prosecute you.” Plaintiffs’ attorneys had implied that Montgomery’s work, and Zullo and Arpaio’s involvement in it, violated federal laws in an obvious effort to construe a criminal case against Arpaio.
Zullo invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to respond to questions during the two depositions as well as on November 10 and the morning of November 12. However, following the lunch break on November 12, Zullo decided to answer questions put to him by defense and plaintiffs’ attorneys, respectively, revealing that Montgomery’s work had shown that Snow, while not the object of “investigation,” was a “victim” of the bank breaches affecting approximately 150,000 Maricopa County residents.
Following Zullo’s unexpected detailing of the “Seattle operation,” no member of the mainstream media made an effort to interview him, and the transcript of his November 12 testimony has uncharacteristically not been widely disseminated.
During the interview with The Post & Email, Gillar commented that in his opinion, the greater Phoenix-area media is substandard and has failed to probe the matter of the data breaches, why they occurred or by whom they were conducted.
Also on November 12, Zullo testified that Montgomery had performed work in the investigation of the long-form birth certificate image bearing the name “Barack Hussein Obama II” posted on the White House website on April 27, 2011. Beginning in September of that year, Zullo led an investigation by the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse into the authenticity of the image, declaring six months later at a press conference that it is a “computer-generated forgery.”
The media showed no curiosity about that revelation, later vilifying Arpaio and Zullo following a second press conference. Congress has also refused to investigate the matter, which also encompasses the reported forgery of Obama’s Selective Service registration form.
After diverting the civil contempt hearings to the “Seattle operation” for more than a month, Snow reportedly said that he was forced to “‘waste a bunch of time to get to the bottom of issues the sheriff and his staff were not forthcoming about” but which were unrelated to the case at hand.
Judicial corruption, including undue influence on county grand juries to produce a predetermined outcome, has been a major area of focus by The Post & Email over the last six years following the publication’s launch in August 2009. Grand juries were included in the Fifth Amendment by the founders to ensure an unbiased review of evidence before a citizen could be charged with an “infamous” crime. Having once operated independently of and acted as a watchdog over government, grand juries are now heavily influenced by prosecutors and, as in Tennessee, completely controlled by the criminal court judge.
Zullo appealed Snow’s ruling compelling him to testify without an attorney and is now represented by Klayman in the matter.
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.