FORMER SHERIFF SAYS CONVICTION HAS “NOTHING TO DO WITH RACIAL PROFILING”
by Sharon Rondeau
The charge of criminal contempt emanated from a civil contempt finding by U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow in May 2016 following a lawsuit filed by a number of Hispanic plaintiffs in December 2007.
At issue was Arpaio’s patrol units dispatched with the purpose of apprehending illegal aliens within Maricopa County.
On December 23, 2011, Snow ordered immigration patrols to cease to put an end to “racial profiling,” but they continued to operate through mid-2013.
During the George W. Bush administration, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) had been deputized via the federal 287(g) program to detain illegal aliens and turn them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. However, it lost that status at almost precisely the same time that Snow issued his order.
Since the Trump administration took office in January, the 287(g) program has experienced robust expansion, whereas it was contracted under Obama.
Arpaio’s attorneys’ attempts to negotiate an out-of-court agreement were rejected by Snow. In February 2015, The Arizona Republic reported, “Snow seemed not yet sold on the idea and stressed that any settlement must be a global agreement, meaning all parties must be on board. This would include representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he said, who may be tapped to press criminal contempt charges against Arpaio should Snow find civil-contempt remedies insufficient.”
In April of that year, hearings for civil contempt against Arpaio and three others began, during which Arpaio and his chief deputy, Gerard Sheridan, revealed that they had reason to believe that their telephones and other communications were monitored by a U.S. government entity.
Curiously, Snow did not seem concerned about the revelation, even though he was identified as one of the government’s “victims.”
In May 2016, Snow ruled that Arpaio defied his December 2011 order and a May 2013 injunction calling for the disbanding of the patrols, constituting a finding of civil contempt of court.
Three months later, Snow announced that he would refer his conclusions to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona for possible criminal prosecution. The U.S. attorney, citing a conflict of interest, referred the matter to the U.S. Justice Department.
In mid-October, just days before early voting was to begin in Arizona for the November 8 elections in which Arpaio was seeking a seventh term as sheriff, the Justice Department announced that it would prosecute him for criminal contempt of court, a factor which could have cost him the election.
On July 31, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton found Arpaio guilty of misdemeanor criminal contempt and scheduled sentencing for October 5. During oral argument, Arpaio’s attorneys said that Snow’s order was lengthy and unclear.
On the evening of August 25, the White House released a statement indicating that President Donald J. Trump was issuing a pardon to Arpaio in consideration of his “life and career, which began at the age of 18 when he enlisted in the military after the outbreak of the Korean War.” The White House said that Arpaio’s half-century in law enforcement and service as six-term Maricopa County sheriff “exemplify selfless public service.”
On October 4, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton will consider whether to vacate the conviction or allow it to stand without sentencing, given the presidential pardon.
“This had nothing to do with racial profiling; the true story is gonna come out and I’m gonna tell you why I’m gonna fight this and get it out because if they can do this to me they can do this to you. I guarantee it,” Arpaio was quoted by Fox News as having said on Saturday.
In an article dated September 11, the Tucson Sentinel reported that U.S. Justice Department prosecutors now agree with Arpaio’s attorneys that the conviction should be stricken from the record.
While his agency was being accused of civil rights violations, Arpaio also launched an attack against President Barack Obama, arguing that the president’s birth certificate was fake.
In August 2011, four months before Snow issued his order to the MCSO to stop its immigration patrolling, Arpaio commissioned an investigation into the “long-form” birth certificate image posted on the White House website several months earlier bearing the name “Barack Hussein Obama II.”
Given that a number of prominent experts had found the image to be fraudulent, 242 of Arpaio’s constituents petitioned him to investigate its authenticity so as to assure them that their votes would not be disenfranchised in the 2012 presidential election.
Arpaio agreed, originally believing that his “Cold Case Posse” would find the image non-problematic within a matter of days. At the time, CBS News quoted Arpaio as having said that he “felt that this investigation could clear President Obama’s name and put people’s minds at ease.”
However, the results conveyed to Arpaio by Cold Case Posse lead investigator Mike Zullo were quite different, and the investigation continued.
On March 1, 2012, Zullo and Arpaio held the first of what would be three press conferences on the investigation, declaring that there was probable cause to believe that the birth certificate image is a “computer-generated forgery.”
Also found to be fraudulent was Obama’s purported Selective Service registration form, a copy of which was received through a FOIA request by this publication and other individuals.
The mainstream media never showed enough curiosity to launch its own investigation into Zullo’s conclusions.
At a second presser held on July 17, 2012, Zullo said that the standard of probable cause in the forgery of the birth certificate had been overcome by the evidence gathered to date. Arpaio termed the forgery of presidential identity documents as one of “national security” and called upon Congress to launch an investigation.
It is generally accepted by the American people that an individual born outside of the United States likely does not qualify for the presidency as a “natural born Citizen,” as the U.S. Constitution requires. That position is virtually unanimous among a wide spectrum of constitutional scholars, attorneys and citizens when the person is known to be a “naturalized” U.S. citizen.
On July 18, a spokesman for the FBI acknowledged to this writer having watched the second press conference in its entirety. When we asked whether or not the agency planned to launch an investigation, the spokesman advised us to “contact your congressman” if we believed a crime had taken place.
For its part, the media continues to term anyone questioning Obama’s eligibility to serve as president stemming from doubts about his birthplace as “a birther.”
In late August 2012, a Justice Department probe of allegations that Arpaio abused the power of his office was abruptly and quietly abandoned. Another civil case involving immigration pursued by Justice was settled out of court in July 2015.
At the third and final press conference last December, Zullo revealed that two forensic analysts examining the long-form birth certificate from two different investigative angles and on two different continents, unaware of each other, reported very similar conclusions to his own: that the birth certificate image cannot be considered authentic.
Thus far, despite investigations into alleged “collusion” between Trump campaign aides and the Russian government, Congress has declined to launch an investigation into the forgery of Obama’s long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration form.