Conservatives and those with anti-Latino/anti-illegal immigrant leanings love Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his aggresisve treatment of illegal immigrants.Â And Sheriff Joe is coming to Orange County next Thursday for a fundraiser for candidate Bill Hunt.
There’s only one small problem. Arpaio is under FBI investigation for using the power of his office to go after and arrest his political enemies. Arpaio has gone after the Mayor of Phoenix and the Police Chief of Mesa, Arizona.Â From the KPHO-TV report:
The list of people subjected to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office investigations reads like a Who’s Who of the Valley, and it includes people who have authority over the sheriff and people who challenged his authority:
- Dan Saban, who ran against the sheriff in 2004 and 2008
- Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard
- Maricopa County Manager David Smith
- The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
- Superior Court Presiding Judge Barbara Mundell
- ACLU attorney Daniel Pochoda
None of the investigations resulted in convictions; however, they cost the targets hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and tarnished reputations.
Â Many of the targets were never charged with a crime.
Â “He knows he never has to prove anything,” said Gordon. “He just raises the issue, and then he hides behind the badge — and the damage is done.”
Arpaio also had the publisher and editor of the local alternative weekly newspaper arrested for investigating a story on the Sheriff’s hidden land deals (Moxley would kick some butt here). But there’s a clear pattern of abuse of power by this Sheriff and Hunt has placed his need to raise funds for the coming Sheriff’s election over the principles of good and ethical law enforcement.Â What does this invitation say about the sort of Sheriff that Hunt might be if elected?Â Would Hunt employ some of these tactics against his political enemies and would pro-Hunt Republicans in OC carry water for him?
More from the KPHO story:
The FBI has a policy of not commenting on open investigations; however, 5 Investigates took its research to an unbiased source: former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico David Iglesias.
Iglesias, who is the real-life military lawyer portrayed by Tom Cruise in the movie A Few Good Men, has a national reputation for putting principle above politics. He has no connection to the current FBI investigation into Arpaio, who he has never met.
“I’ve been in and around law enforcement for about 20 years — state, local and federal level (and) even some military prosecution work. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Iglesias said after he looked through 5 Investigates’ research and did some on his own.
If he were handling the case, Iglesias said, “I would work very closely with the civil rights division in Washington, D.C., and based on the information I have, I would seek an indictment.”
An Arpaio defense consisting of, “I had a reason to investigate that person,” wouldn’t work, Iglesias said.
“It’s a defense, but the question is, ‘Is it a winning defense?’ And I think the answer to that is, ‘No,’” he said.
It’s unknown whether the FBI investigation will result in criminal charges. 5 Investigates‘ sources said investigators may be trying to turn a trusted deputy against the sheriff.
Nevertheless, if they can’t, Iglesias indicated the pattern of cases might be enough to take the sheriff to court.
“(Arpaio’s actions are) absolutely unacceptable,” Iglesias said. “We don’t do think kind of thing in America — in this country — without some kind of consequences.