Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is asking supporters to pay for the cost of his ongoing legal battles, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“In some instances I have to personally pay for attorneys to represent me in these cases,” Arpaio said in an email to fans late last week. “I do not have the personal wealth or the wherewithal to keep up with the costly demands of paying for attorneys to defend me.”
Arpaio made his appeal a day before filing for the removal of District Judge G. Murray Snow from contempt of court proceedings against him.
The sheriff’s attorneys argued that Snow is incapable of being impartial in the case because of a situation created by Arpaio’s own representation; Arpaio revealed last month that a former attorney hired a private detective to investigate Snow’s wife.
“No reasonable person with knowledge of the facts can deny that Judge Snow is now investigating and presiding over issues involving his own family,” Arpaio’s current lawyer, Mel McDonald, argued.
Phoenix New Times reported that McDonald and his team “rode on the coattails” of conservative activist Larry Klayman in filing for Snow to be removed.
McDonald admitted to reading a motion Klayman filed earlier this month that also called for the judge to be removed from the case because of the investigation against his wife. Klayman’s motion was unsuccessful.
Arpaio could be found in civil contempt of court stemming from the 2013 court ruling that found his department was engaging in racial profiling against Latinos. If Snow strikes down McDonald’s motion, the sheriff is due back in court in June.
A former sergeant in his “human smuggling unit” testified last month that Arpaio allowed the practice to continue for more than a year after the decision. The sheriff said at the time that he delegated responsibility for following the order to his attorneys and subordinates.
New Times also reported that Maricopa County has spent more than $44 million to comply with the ruling, on top of paying $14.2 million in legal costs.