Wall Street Journal
By Miriam Jordan
October 25, 2016
Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is seeking a seventh term, was formally charged with contempt of court Tuesday for defying a judge’s order to halt immigration patrols.
Federal prosecutors had declared their intent to charge Mr. Arpaio earlier this month. If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, the 84-year-old sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, could face up to six months in jail.
Mel McDonald, Mr. Arpaio’s lawyer, said that his client wasn't surprised by the court order.
“The sheriff is going to plead not guilty,” Mr. McDonald said in a phone interview. “He is going to fight every one of the allegations. We believe he will ultimately be vindicated.”
The criminal contempt charges stem from a 2007 lawsuit accusing the sheriff’s department of racial profiling. That suit is expected to cost Maricopa County taxpayers more than $40 million, according to a county estimate.
Mr. Arpaio’s aggressive stance against illegal immigration shot him to fame. However, it has created controversy and drawn scrutiny.
His popularity may be waning, experts say. A poll released by the Arizona Republic newspaper last week showed the sheriff trailing his challenger, Democrat Paul Penzone, 31.1% to 45.9% among registered voters.
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