PHOENIX — The Latest on the trial of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio (all times local):
The criminal trial of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio has opened with a federal prosecutor using the former lawman’s news releases and TV interviews against him.
Arpaio is on trial on a contempt-of-court charge for violating a judge’s order to stop conducting the traffic patrols targeting immigrants that helped make him a national political figure.
In opening arguments Monday, prosecutor Victor Salgado cited news releases and TV interviews by Arpaio bragging about his immigration enforcement. The prosecutor says Arpaio’s own words prove the government’s case that he willfully defied a judge’s orders.
Arpaio’s lawyer vigorously disputed that a person with nearly 60 years in law enforcement would violate a court order on purpose.
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s request to let a jury instead of a judge decide whether he is guilty of a criminal charge for disobeying a court order to stop his immigration patrols.
The rejection from the nation’s highest court came hours before the retired lawman’s trial is set to begin on Monday.
Arpaio faces up to six months in prison if he’s convicted, although many doubt he will be put behind bars.
The 85-year-old Arpaio ousted from office by a significant margin last year. His successor has undone some of his major moves, including the closing of the infamous Tent City outdoor jail.
The eight-day trial in Phoenix will determine whether Arpaio is guilty of misdemeanor contempt of court for disobeying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols targeting immigrants.
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio will go on trial Monday on a criminal contempt-of-court charge for disobeying a judge’s order to stop his traffic patrols that targeted immigrants in metro Phoenix.
Arpaio has acknowledged prolonging the patrols for months but insists it wasn’t intentional.
The 85-year-old retired lawman faces up to six months in jail if convicted, though lawyers who have followed his case doubt that he’ll ever be put behind bars.
He was ousted from office last year in the same election that sent Donald Trump to the White House after using some of the same immigration rhetoric that made Arpaio a national name a decade earlier.
The judge concluded that Arpaio ignored the order because he believed his immigration efforts would help his 2012 campaign.
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