Federal prosecutors closed an exhaustive four-year FBI criminal investigation and grand-jury probe targeting Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas and their top deputies, saying there will be no indictments. Arizona RepublicHere's a PDF of the US Attorney's very short three-paragraph press release, in which they really offer no reasons or background, and simply say their office has ended its probe into the multiple allegations of civil rights abuse, perjury, and misuse of funds. In another letter to County Attorney Bill Montgomery the feds wrote:
prosecution was declined because of a lack of evidence or an insurmountable burden of proof.Huh? When you consider the details listed in the 2010 Munnell Memo alone, a 63-page document written by a former chief deputy that's filled with cronyism, racism, lies, misappropriation of funds, illegal campaign schemes, and outright fraud, it's hard to imagine how the feds arrived at their "lack of proof" nonsense. That memo cost Arpaio's key aides their jobs, but not him?!
Even some Republicans found the ruling mind-boggling. Former County Attorney Rick Romley, for example, was left scratching his noggin:
Romley said he was "truly puzzled" by the decision not to prosecute. "To say there was insufficient evidence, with the amount of information that we sent their way, sends a horrible message." Arizona RepublicSusan Schuerman was a secretary to County Supervisor Don Stapley, an elected official who was indicted by Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas. She was also followed and harassed by the Sheriff's goons, all part of the Arpaio-Thomas strategy to discredit, humiliate, and bully elected officials, staff, and reporters who stood in the way of their police state tactics.
"Having lived through this and witnessed all of these outrageous behaviors ... I'm shocked that no charges would be brought," she said. "It's all politics. I think this is bigger than they are (the Justice Department). I think the Justice Department was inept in their handling of this, and I have almost no faith left." Arizona RepublicCounty Supervisors Mary Rose Wilcox and Don Stapley have spent millions fighting Arpaio's empty lawsuits, and both have filed counter-suits against his office:
Wilcox expressed shock at the U.S. attorney's decision, stammering for words. "I can't believe it. I can't imagine why they would do that, when there's so much evidence there, particularly from the Thomas case," she said. "I just am floored." Arizona RepublicAnother County Supervisor is equally miffed:
Andrew Kunasek, one of five members of the county Board of Supervisors and a victim of Arpaio and Thomas' vendettas, is furious about the decision, which he calls "an assault on our system of justice." New TimesFor his part, County Attorney Andrew Thomas was later disbarred for his participation in Arpaio's vindictive schemes. But the feds chose not to file even one indictment against Sheriff Arpaio!
Paul Penzone, who is challenging Joe Arpaio in this November's election, reacted:
"There are obvious failings in the Sheriff's Office. The fact that they did not rise to a level of criminal indictment does not lessen that they are failings." Arizona RepublicWe might ask the 400 victims of sex crimes, some children as young as two, crimes Arpaio failed to investigate or prosecute, if there are "failings" at the Sheriff's office. We certainly need to ask the voters of Maricopa County, who've seen this birther blowhard rack up tens of millions of dollars in lawsuits while crime increases, unlike every other county in the state, whether there are "failings" in the Sheriff's office. Let's hope voters see things differently than the US Department of Justice.
The Friday decision, by the way, has no bearing on the long list of lawsuits pending against Arpaio—some filed by politicians and judges who were indicted and harassed by him (like Stapley and Wilcox), others brought by Hispanics who allege racial profiling by the Sheriff's deputies, another filed by reporters who were arrested on bogus charges, and still others filed by the families of prisoners who were tortured or even murdered while in the Sheriff's custody.
No, this isn't over. But the worst part could be this November. Paul Penzone for Sheriff.