After evading justice, once again, when the U.S. Department of Justice decided to settle its case with Maricopa County rather than prosecute the “Most Corrupt Sheriff in America” to a conviction, Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio evades ‘Justice’ again, Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio did not fare as well with U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow last week, and ended the week with yet another example of his department’s obstruction of justice and contempt of court.
Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times reported on the status conference last Monday, Snow Allows DOJ to Review Montgomery Docs, Denies Stay Request, Sets Dates for Further Contempt Hearings:
During an hour-long status conference Monday in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s never-ending contempt case, federal Judge G. Murray Snow granted a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to review documents from Arpaio’s confidential informant Dennis Montgomery in the MCSO’s so-called “Seattle investigation.”
That investigation, as first revealed in June of last year by Phoenix New Times, was an attempt by Arpaio and his Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan to gin up a conspiracy theory involving Snow, the DOJ, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and others, in an effort to conflict Snow off the ACLU’s big civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio.
The DOJ’s bid to review the data has been pending since Snow ordered a stay in May, after Arpaio’s lawyers sought to have Snow recuse himself from the case, a desperation move that was doomed to failure and essentially bought Arpaio’s attorneys a delay of two months.
On July 10, Snow formally denied the recusal request and lifted the stay, setting Monday’s hearing at the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix, where several issues were addressed by the court, including whether or not the DOJ would be allowed access to bankers boxes and computer files provided to the MCSO by Montgomery during a year-long investigation, which involved payments of more than $120,000 to Montgomery, an alleged computer guru then living in Seattle.
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On Monday, DOJ attorney Rafael Gomez asked to make copies of the documents and data so that the DOJ and other U.S. government agencies could look through it in Washington, D.C. for any confidential or sensitive material.
Attorney Larry Klayman of the right-wing group Freedom Watch was present, representing Montgomery.
He asked the judge if he could address the court to object to the DOJ’s having access to the material and to argue in favor of his request to appear before the court pro hac vice, a special status sought by attorneys from outside jurisdictions.
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Snow let Klayman speak, but not to his pro hac vice application, noting that another attorney from Freedom Watch had sought to intervene in the case with Klayman’s assistance and that Klayman likely would have the same conflicts as the other Freedom Watch counsel.
Klayman asked Snow not to release the documents so as to protect Montgomery’s “property interests.”
Snow wondered what property interests would be involved if Montgomery had taken the data from the CIA, which supposedly had harvested it from the American people, if the tale Montgomery purportedly told the MCSO turned out to be true.
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In order not to overlap with a possible trial in United States v. Maricopa County scheduled for August 10 before federal Judge Roslyn O. Silver, Snow said he would keep the following dates open on his calendar for a resumption of the contempt proceedings: September 22-25, and September 29 through October 2.
Arpaio and Sheridan have admitted to civil contempt of Snow’s orders. What remains is whether Snow refers the case for criminal prosecution.
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The DOJ also moved today to intervene in Melendres.
This might be a good thing for the ACLU, as far as having more warm bodies around to help with all the work there is to be done.
But considering the DOJ’s recent concessions to Arpaio as part of a settlement in U.S. v. Maricopa County, here’s hoping that if they’re allowed to “intervene,” they have zero decision-making ability in how the plaintiffs go forward.
That was where things stood on Monday, but then this happened at an emergency hearing on Friday. Stephen Lemons reports, Snow Orders Arpaio to Cough Up New Montgomery Files and 1,500 Seized IDs to the U.S Marshal:
Though not quite the “raid” that some local media depicted it as, Friday’s events were nonetheless dramatic, with U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow calling an “emergency meeting” for 3 p.m. at the request of his monitor Robert Warshaw, whose team has been in town for the week.
According to Snow’s order setting the hearing, the meeting pertained to Warshaw’s “request to access certain documents and tangible things on an immediate basis from Defendants, which Defendants have declined.”
Seems the monitor had learned of an additional 50 hard drives of material from the so-called “Seattle operation,” involving MCSO confidential informant Dennis Montgomery, whom the MCSO hired to ferret out a nonexistent conspiracy involving Snow, the U.S. Department of Justice, former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder and others.
The monitor also was tipped off to the existence of nearly 1,500 IDs that had been seized by the MCSO over the course of several years and were apparently days away from being destroyed.
During the afternoon hearing, according to those present, Snow was livid that these documents had not been surrendered to his court.
The judge argued with Arpaio’s attorneys over the matter, ultimately instructing the MCSO to turn over all of the disputed material to the U.S. Marshal.
According to my sources, the MCSO complied with the judge’s order late Friday, relinquishing the hard drives and the IDs to six deputy U.S. Marshals, who had been sent to seize the material from the MCSO’s evidence and property lockers, at a facility near 35th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road.
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[F]ollowing Snow’s order (.pdf), reporters gathered outside MCSO headquarters near 5th Avenue and Jackson Street.
Arpaio’s Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan and Arpaio’s attorney Joe Popolizio (one of many lawyers paid for by county taxpayers) fielded questions.
Asked why the marshals had to get involved, Sheridan, who along with Arpaio has admitted to civil contempt of Snow’s court and faces possible criminal contempt charges, did a poor spin job.
“No one has asked us to turn them over before,” Sheridan stated.
That, however, is plainly incorrect.
Back on April 23, when Snow first grilled Arpaio about the Seattle investigation during the initial round of hearings in the sheriff’s contempt trial, Snow ordered that all materials related to the probe be preserved and turned over to his monitor.
More than once during his interrogation of Arpaio, Snow made his wishes clear in the broadest language possible.
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As to the IDs involved, Snow issued an order on February 12, ordering the MCSO to produce several categories of documents related to the contempt hearings, one being, “Copies of identification documents seized by MCSO personnel from apparent members of the Plaintiff Class.”
The production of documents pursuant to Judge Snow’s orders and plaintiff’s discovery requests have been an ongoing issue throughout the Melendres case and are part of the current contempt hearings against Arpaio, Sheridan and three other current and former MCSO honchos.
More recently, in an admission of civil contempt lodged with the court by Sheridan and Arpaio, both men admitted to, among other things, pre-trial discovery violations, which involved a failure to turn over hundreds of hours of videotaped traffic stops and “confiscated personal identifications and items of personal property” taken from Latinos during MCSO enforcement actions.
Friday’s shenanigans are only the latest in a perpetual game of chicken played by Arpaio, Sheridan and others at the MCSO with the federal court, and it will not end until there is some punishment meted out to the perpetrators. Criminal punishment.
On this point I whole-heartedly agree. I am amazed that the “Most Corrupt Sheriff in America” still has his job.
By the way, attorney Larry Klayman of the right-wing group Freedom Watch has been busy suing to get headlines again. Freedom Watch Sues to Stop Iran Deal – Roll Call. Sorry Larry, I will not link to your World Nut Daily article.