Here’s one way to tell that maybe your contempt of court hearing isn’t going your way: When the judge in your case asks if you hired a private investigator to look into that judge’s wife, and you have to admit that, well, yes, but only because you’re a paranoid creep who always investigates his political enemies. It’s not like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was singling out U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow or anything.
Things took a weird turn Thursday during a hearing into whether Arpaio had complied with Snow’s 2013 order to knock it off with all the racial profiling already; the contempt charges stem from Arpaio’s refusal to stop running immigration patrols in defiance of that order. After a morning of testimony about the contempt charges — helped along with plenty of video of Arpaio telling the media that in spite of Snow’s order, he was continuing to go after illegal immigrants any old how — Judge Snow told Arpaio he had a few questions for him as well, and asked Arpaio if it was true that the sheriff had sent a private investigator after Snow’s wife.
Arpaio admitted that his lawyer at the time had indeed hired an investigator to follow up on a very important allegation that demanded the sheriff’s attention, for Truth and Justice probably:
Arpaio said he had come into the possession of an e-mail from a tipster who claimed to have met Snow’s wife at a restaurant, and that Snow’s wife said the judge “wanted to do everything to make sure I’m not elected.”
Arpaio said his counsel then hired a private investigator to look into the matter.
“Results confirmed that your wife was in that restaurant,” Arpaio told Snow. “I guess (the investigator) talked to the witness, confirmed that that remark was made.”
Obviously, with an important bit of law-enforcement business like that, Arpaio’s team simply had to swing into action, right? Maybe he had to investigate whether Snow’s wife was eating meat on the sly, too.
Snow also asked Arpaio about other investigations that Arpaio had launched against public officials, including a claim that the sheriff’s office had spent county funds to investigate the U.S. Department of Justice to retaliate against DOJ’s racial profiling lawsuit. Arpaio again admitted that he had investigated a few DOJ judges, including Snow, because an informant had claimed that the feds were infiltrating Arpaio’s computers (and contaminating his precious bodily fluids), although Arpaio also said that he’d determined the informant was unreliable.
It’s possible that Arpaio’s habit of using his office to harass everyone who might get in the way of Joe Arpaio could finally get him in trouble; sending investigators after a federal judge’s wife is pretty scummy, even if she did say mean things about poor Sheriff Joe. And then there’s the whole contempt of court thing, which could eventually result in criminal contempt charges, what with at least one deputy testifying that Arpaio had ordered him to ignore Snow’s order and to keep going after illegal immigrants.
We bet Arpaio would just love the new vegetarian menu at the county jail. It’s really healthy.