Trials & Litigation

Ariz. Sheriff, County Attorney Drop Controversial RICO Suit Against Judges

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An embattled Arizona sheriff and county attorney have dropped their controversial racketeering suit against county officials, judges and lawyers.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced Thursday that they were dropping the lawsuit because the Justice Department has agreed to review the case, according to the Associated Press and the Arizona Republic. The suit had alleged corruption in connection with the construction of a court office tower.

Lawyers representing defendants in the case said assertions of a federal investigation were an effort to save face. “Anybody can refer a case to the DOJ,” lawyer James Belanger told the Arizona Republic. “There’s no way referring it to the DOJ is the same as winning in federal court.”

Hundreds of lawyers protested the legal actions against county officials and judges in a rally on the steps of a Phoenix courthouse last December.

Prior and related coverage: “FBI Probing Gov’t Attorney’s Office in Embattled Maricopa County, Ariz.” “Grand Jury Said to Be Probing Power Abuses by Ariz. Sheriff’s Office” “Ariz. Judges Defending Controversial Civil RICO Case Seemingly Win a Round” “Paper: War Over $340M Court Tower Threatens Rule of Law in Ariz. County” “Hundreds of Lawyers Rally to Protest County Atty in Sheriff’s Battle Against Judiciary”

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