Sheriff Joe Arpaio's lawyers protest federal judge's questions during contempt hearing

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An Arizona sheriff expected to be questioned about a civil rights case during a civil contempt hearing in federal court in Phoenix last week.

But Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio had no idea the federal judge in charge of the hearing would hand him a copy of a Phoenix New Times article and ask him about it, his counsel said in a Tuesday filing objecting to the questioning by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow. The filing also seeks time for the sheriff’s lawyers to review materials that Snow ordered turned over to a mediator, after Arpaio admitted that he knew his lawyer had hired a private investigtor to look into claimed comments by Snow’s wife against the sheriff, reports USA Today.

Meanwhile, the lawyer that Arpaio said had hired the PI is no longer representing the sheriff. Attorney Tim Casey stepped aside due to the likelihood that he might be called as a witness when the contempt hearing resumes in June, said Casey’s ethics counsel, Karen Clark.

Clark said Casey could be called to resolve differing testimony by Arpaio, who acknowledged the PI probe, and Arpaio’s chief deputy, who said there was no investigation of Snow, his wife or his family, reports a Capital Media Services article published by the Arizona Daily Star.

“Mr. Casey is aware of his obligations as an officer of the court to be completely candid with the tribunal and to cooperate with the court, while at the same time remain in strict compliance with his ethical obligations to his former clients Sheriff Arpaio and the MCSO,” Clark said. “Those duties include maintaining client confidentiality as well as attorney-client privileged information.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Contempt hearing bombshell: Sheriff Joe Arpaio admits he had federal judge’s wife investigated”

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