To say that President Barack Obama and Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio don’t see eye-to-eye on immigration would be a bit of an understatement.
Arpaio’s efforts to enforce laws already on the books have met with resistance and been countered by Obama’s Department of Justice at nearly every turn, and now, with just two weeks to go before Election Day, the feds have moved in for the kill shot on Arpaio’s political career.
According to KNXV, the 84-year-old six-term sheriff was charged Tuesday with a federal misdemeanor count of criminal contempt of court for actions deemed to be in violation of a court order stemming from a 2011 racial profiling case.
That case had accused him of using unconstitutional methods to crack down on illegal immigrants in and around the Phoenix area, and he had been ordered to cease and desist from those activities by a federal judge.
If convicted, Arpaio could serve up to six months in jail, though the conviction would not necessarily bar him from continuing to hold a political office. A trial date for the contempt charge has been scheduled for Dec. 6.
Arpaio’s lawyer, Mel McDonald, stated that the charge would be contested, saying, “We believe that when the final chapter is written, he will be vindicated.”
McDonald added that it was unlikely that Arpaio would actually be arrested and compelled to have mugshots taken, and said the sheriff intended to plead not guilty.
This is not the first time that Arpaio has run afoul of the Obama administration, and should Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton be elected, it is a near certainty that her administration would place the sheriff near the top of their target list to be taken out one way or another as well.
Arpaio’s campaign released a statement on the matter, specifically noting the timing and political nature of the charge coming so close to the election.
“The Obama Justice Department continues its efforts to influence the election for sheriff of Maricopa County. The department’s actions in the last 30 days before the election are further attempts to sabotage Sheriff Arpaio in his bid for a seventh unprecedented term as Maricopa County Sheriff,” read the campaign’s statement.
“It is clear from the timing that the Department of Justice is merely a political tool of a corrupt administration. Justice plays no part in this department’s actions and clear political motivations,” the campaign added.
While Sheriff Joe may very well have been “in contempt” of a federal judge’s order to stop enforcing immigration laws already on the books, this has been a long and ongoing battle between the sheriff and Obama’s DOJ that could have been settled well prior to the election.
It reeks of corrupt political interference for a federal agency to press charges against a political candidate two weeks before an election, and comes across more as a spiteful slap in the face than as a true effort at upholding the Constitution and rule of law — two things the Obama administration is remarkably unfamiliar with anyway, except of course when it suits their agenda.
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