Joe Arpaio Dissembles on the Stand in Andrew Thomas Disciplinary Hearing

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Maricopa County's own Teflon Don, under oath and unable to recall...

In a performance worthy of a Mafia don, Sheriff Joe Arpaio dissembled under oath today in a disciplinary hearing for disgraced former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and Thomas' ex-underlings, former deputy county attorneys Rachel Alexander and Lisa Aubuchon.

During more than two hours of questioning, mostly by counsel for the State Bar of Arizona, Arpaio's favorite response was, "I don't recall," which he repeated numerous times. 

He asserted that he had delegated all authority concerning the investigations of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, county judges, and various other county officials to former Chief Deputy David Hendershott, Arpaio's hand-picked fall guy. 

Though he admitted Hendershott briefed him regularly on investigations by the Maricopa County Anti-Corruption Enforcement unit, which went after the political enemies of the sheriff's and county attorney's, it was only "in general terms." The sheriff claimed ignorance of the "nuts and bolts" of the operations. 

"I was not micromanaging these operations," Arpaio stated at one point, in direct contradiction to press releases, public statements, and reams of documents released following a whitewash review done by Arpaio's political ally, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

My colleague Ray Stern read thousands of these documents, pointing out in his May 26 cover story "Joe Knew," that Arpaio was intimately involved in the witchhunts against those who dared oppose him, sitting in on MACE meetings, according to several witnesses, and even reviewing search warrants.

But instead of the hard-charging sheriff who stood side-by-side with Thomas at countless press conferences regarding MACE investigations and the RICO suit wherein he was the lead plaintiff, Arpaio depicted himself as someone who was just going along with what the County Attorney and his top deputy wanted.

Regarding the September 2009 arrest of Supervisor Don Stapley on bogus fraud charges, Arpaio previously has told the press that he ordered it. Also, in Hendershott's recent testimony before the disciplinary hearing, the erstwhile Arpaio minion confirmed that Arpaio ordered the collaring of Stapley.

But this morning, Arpaio claimed his hands were clean, and that the decision to arrest Stapley was not his.

"I don't order arrests," he said, adding a moment later that he "didn't oppose it" either.

Arpaio conceded that he met with Aubuchon, Thomas, and Hendershott the day before Judge Gary Donahoe was indicted on three bogus felony counts, meant both as retaliation against Donahoe for his previous rulings against Thomas and Arpaio, and a way to head off another hearing before Donahoe, scheduled for the following day.

But Arpaio averred that he had no part in the decision to charge Donahoe, which is a key part of the bar's complaint against Thomas. The bar contends more than just an ethical violation here. It alleges that federal laws were broken in the Thomas-Arpaio vendetta against Donahoe.

"I don't file charges," Arpaio contended. "Prosecutors do that."

Arpaio feigned ignorance of the details of the charges, the timing of the charges, and insisted he had only "peripheral knowledge" of the sham case against Donahoe.

"I was confused then," the sheriff said of the Donahoe matter. "I'm confused now."

Yet, of that same meeting before the Donahoe charges were filed, Arpaio stated later in the hearing that he "suggested maybe a complaint" against the judge.

Confronted with press releases from the county attorney's office in which he was quoted concerning the various shenanigans of his MACE unit, Arpaio admitted that the MCAO must have gotten permission from his staff to use those quotes.

And yet he was "not privy" to every detail concerning these matters, he contended.

About the racketeering lawsuit he and Thomas brought against numerous county officials and judges, the one concerning the supposed "court tower" conspiracy, Arpaio maintained that he has never read the RICO action, though he's the number one plaintiff in it, though he agreed to its ultimate dismissal, and though he agreed to it being turned it over (ironically) to the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Division.

Hendershott suggested that he should be a plaintiff, Arpaio said. He went along with its dismissal on similar advice.

But in an MCAO press statement about the RICO suit's dismissal, Arpaio was quoted mentioning "pressures exerted by certain elected officials in powerful positions." He said he couldn't remember what these "pressures" were or who exactly he was talking about.

How could he have made a statement about a RICO complaint he had never read? Arpaio said it was a county attorney press release, and the MCAO was responsible for knowing all the details.

Arpaio said he had no "objective" in bringing the lawsuit, though the suit's prayer for relief asked for "triple damages" against the defendants. 

Toward the end of his testimony, Arpaio asserted that he was not trying to be evasive in his answers.

"I don't have a computerized mind," he told the three-member panel overseeing the hearing.

Arpaio may not have a computerized mind (who does?), but his testimony today was at odds with his previous statements, the statements and testimony of his subordinates, and everything we know about the Arpaio-Thomas-Hendershott axis.

It would be a near miracle if the sheriff did not perjure himself today. 

And yet, the feds continue to sit on their hands and do nothing about Arpaio, though a federal grand jury probe of Arpaio began in 2008, so far producing zilch.

My sources have indicated that the Department of Justice has enough evidence to do indictments of Arpaio and his henchmen, but a political decision has been made by the muck-a-mucks in Washington, D.C. to defer such action until after the 2012 elections.

As I pointed out in May of this year, President Barack Obama and his Justice Department are more afraid of Joe Arpaio than Obama was of Osama bin Laden.

The soon-to-be octogenarian is expected to run again for reelection in 2012. His campaign war chest boasts millions in contributions from around the country, and GOP presidential candidates have been traipsing through Phoenix, hats in hand, seeking Arpaio's endorsement.

So, in spite of Arpaio's damning testimony today, I remain pessimistic that the feds will do anything about the sheriff, even if Obama is re-elected. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and his boss are that weak-kneed.

And that's one reason why corruption such as Arpaio's is so bald-faced. Another is a sheep-like electorate that overlooks all of Arpaio's misdeeds no matter how many millions are squandered on his illegalities, no matter how many individuals are ruthlessly targeted by his regime.

My colleague James King will continue following the hearing this afternoon in the Valley Fever blog. Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, and later perhaps Aubuchon, are expected to take the stand at some point. You can watch the hearing live via the Arizona Supreme Court's website, here.


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144 comments
Cajungman
Cajungman

goes to show you how dum the asshole is and the asswipes that vote for him

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

The thing I'm shocked about is the absence of any story in the New Times about this  "Attorney of the Month" crapola.  This seems like a REAL story with REAL legs!  Here, an attorney is caught obviously doing things that he has no business doing - and the Arizona Bar, the same organization who is pursuing disbarment against other attorneys caught doing the exact same thing (using their positions to persecute innocent people) and the Phoenix New Times is silent?  WTF?  Don't tell me that the pitbull Wilenchic got to the New Times reporters somehow.  Matter of fact, why isn't the New Times complaining that WIlenchic isn't on the witness list for the Thomas hearings?

Trommy Themulus
Trommy Themulus

Get this clown out now why wait.  I can't believe a contendor for the republican party came here and met with him.  He must be as clueless as he is crazy.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Fundamental Problem:  "Law and Order" Conservatives want this sort of law-breaking, dishonest windbag running MCSO.

If Conservatives would demand and vote for Honest and Ethical Conservative candidates, none of this would happen.

 

Paula Pennypacker
Paula Pennypacker

The politics of personal destruction in Arizona may finally be coming to an end.  I too was victim of the Pearce/Arpaio/CQ/Haney goon squad, because I had the audacity to point out that emperor Pearce had no clothes.  For that I was targeted for destruction by members of my own party.Let's hope Pearce loses the recall this November, so we can close this sad chapter in AZ history.   We can then pick up the pieces and put Arizona on a more prosperous path as this crew has dug us into an $8.5 billion debt.Arizona has been ruled by Republicans for the last 40 years.  What this Andrew Thomas saga proves conclusively is that -- absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Coz
Coz

When you listen to all the various testimony so far, I figure Bozo Joe Arpaio has committed at least 5 or 6 counts of perjury so far.

Jason
Jason

Does anybody know who's scheduled to testify next?

Gila CA Daisy Flores?

Former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke?

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

I just noticed that Arpaio did not wear his pistol tie tack when he testified.  Have not seen him without his tough shurf emblem in a few years. 

Marv
Marv

GUILTY ...... GUILTY .... GUILTYAlso, how many Millions of Dollars, has this TURD stolen ?????

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Arpaio's testimony was nothing more than an extrusion of bovinic waste from one of male gender.

Coz
Coz

It's so obvious watching the video Bozo Joe Arpaio is lying his ass off.

Amazing...

Coz
Coz

I would imagine Mike lacy is working on something about. I doubt very seriously this will slip by.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

When was the last time you saw an "Honest and Ethical Conservative Candidate?"

I've lived here 26 years and I haven't seen one yet.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Weather Pearce wins or loses, the only way to close this "Sad Chapter" is for the voters in Az to wake up and realize people like Pearce, Thomas, Rpiehole, etc are a symptom of the disease of voter ignorance/apathy.

Nordine Crub
Nordine Crub

Paula I do believethe House of Cards has begin to fall, first Andy Thomas lost his Primary, Pearce will get his lose his recall, Thomas will be disbarred and the Fat Lady will, sing and sing and sing. Hendershot will prove to be too big to be thrown under the bus and Arpaio will resign stating he has been diagnosed with Altzheimer's. Unfortunately no one will do any time but the four thugs (Thomas, Pearce, Hendershot and Arpaio) will be relegated to history. That's just the way I see it.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Very good statement Paula.  I think we need to shift the alliance every so often.  A party, an candidate or whatever entity should need to fight stay in.  When they know they will win, they are unaccountable.

seeking the truth
seeking the truth

Listen to AZ Bar Attorney Gleason's opening against former County Attorney Andrew Thomas/DCA Lisa Aubuchon/Rachel Alexander. First day, Sept. 12, 2011. They all deserve to be disbarred and sent to prison, along with the sheriff and his chief who were joined at the hips.

http://supremestateaz.granicus...

Anon
Anon

PP, Well said. Thanks for speaking out.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

I know nothing!  NOTHING!!!!  leave me alone you liberal, open borders anarchist, anti-American, bear drinking tea hater, leave me alone, go away, I am the "Toughest Shurf in America" when I was in Turkey and Mexico with the DEA I had a shootout with the bad guys once a week, I single handedly took down the French Connection, damn it don't make me sent my anti-corruption unit ofter you!!!

LOL  

Coz
Coz

Unfortunately brother, Horne doesn't have the balls to do anything about anything corrupt.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Did you see that the Arizona State Bar just made Wilenchik their attorney of the month?  When is he going to testify?

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

100 million "Missappropiated", 56 million in payed out lawsuits, with an estimate of over 110 million in lawsuits still pending. that ofcourse does not include the costs of investigations like Andy's disbarment court costs or Sheriff Paul Babeu whitewash, err, I mean "investigation" among many others.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

And where are all of the Sheriff's men, not one single ArPayaso supporter has posted to defend the clown, I guess they finally figured out they were betting on the wrong horse.  I must say, it's not fun playing without real competition.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

I'm wrong, it wasn't in the Arizona attorney magazine published by the bar, it was in the Attorney At Law magazine (Greater Phoenix Edition) published by Target Market Mediawww.tmmpublications.comI thought that there were at least 2 bar complaints and/or investigations by the bar against Wilenchik and here he is with his mug splattered across this magazine with the title Attorney of the Month, an article written by one of the magazines' contributing writers Paula Hubbs Cohen.I'm wondering why the bar doesn't list any correction actions against him in his bar recordwww.azbar.orgI'm wondering if he "rolled over" on Candy Andy Thomas and the others in exchange for favorable treatment in his own bar complaint actions.

Bnbk
Bnbk

I never have,never will

Jason
Jason

Nor have I, and I'm 25.

Coz
Coz

Isn't that the truth.

Jason
Jason

"I think we need to shift the alliance every so often."

Just look at Alabama. Republinuts gained control of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction (mid-1860's) and passed HB56, a SB1070 law that drives out the criminal illegals.

Coz
Coz

 Oh and BTW, I have already been a victim of Bozo Joe's Goon Squad.

Coz
Coz

Lets not forget arresting Elvis....yes, Bozo Joe is a legend in his own feeble mind.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

oops, send*  I'm having so much fun I'm typing too fast, LOL.

Jason
Jason

Because Horne himself is corrupt.

Jason
Jason

Isn't Wilenchik the one who had ex-parte communications with Judge Baca and wanted to fine NT something like $90 million for a story regarding the MCSO shurf?

If so, he needs to be disbarred as well.

Coz
Coz

Thats funny, criminal of the month would have been more fitting.

Guest23
Guest23

You have to be kidding considering his involvement with the PNTs owners arrests.

After seeing that thomas, aubuchon and alexander were finally facing disbarment and/or suspension I had hopes for the AZ BAR, but I may have thought so too soon.

Coz
Coz

yea, but Bozo Joe doesn't recall any of it, LOL.

Coz
Coz

I sent an e-mail to Lacy about it, but knowing him as I do, I'm sure there will more more on this situation coming.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

I know Brother, and that's why I added the last line, to make sure people know he uses MCSO resources for his personal vendettas.  How did you like my impersonation of the Shurf Joke ArPayaso with a little bit of Sgt. Schultz and Rus-SELL Pearce thrown in to add spice.  LOL

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Nah, if tom horne is a real Attorney General, then a I am General Patton, that idiot is no more than a puppet in suit and tie, his stings being pulled by "special" interrest lobists and peace, the puppet master.

Jason
Jason

Vote Rotellini in 2012. I know I will.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

What do you mean a REAL AG?  I thought we had one over there sitting on Brewer's lap being spoon fed by AARPaio and Pearce.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

I guess the only thing we can hope for is that a REAL AG steps in before the statue of limitations runs out.

Coz
Coz

Exactly Jason.

Eleanor
Eleanor

Horne and many of his underlings are corrupt.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

The thing I'm shocked about is the absence of any story in the New Times about this  "Attorney of the Month" crapola.  This seems like a REAL story with REAL legs!  Here, an attorney is caught obviously doing things that he has no business doing - and the Arizona Bar, the same organization who is pursuing disbarment against other attorneys caught doing the exact same thing (using their positions to persecute innocent people) and the Phoenix New Times is silent?  WTF?  Don't tell me that the pitbull Wilenchic got to the New Times reporters somehow.  Matter of fact, why isn't the New Times complaining that WIlenchic isn't on the witness list for the Thomas hearings?

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