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Joe Arpaio on trial over immigration actions echoing Trump's rhetoric

Posted at 4:37 AM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 08:16:29-04

He’s out of office but Joe Arpaio isn’t done dealing with his time as Sheriff. On Monday the criminal trial against him starts in federal court.

Arpaio is charged with criminal contempt-of-court for disobeying a judge's order to stop his immigration traffic patrols. Arpaio admitted he continued his patrols — even though a federal judge ordered him to stop. However, Arpaio says it was not intentional.

Legal Analyst James Goodnow expects Arpaio to pull out all of the stops for his trial.

"Joe Arpaio loves to go big -- expect him to do that in the courtroom," said Goodnow. "He doesn't really have any good legal defenses. What he's doing is, what we call in the law, the spaghetti strategy. He's throwing everything up against the wall and seeing what sticks. Not a good legal strategy but  should make for some good TV."

Arpaio was ousted from office last year in the same election that sent Donald Trump to the White House after using some of the same immigration rhetoric that made Arpaio a national name a decade earlier.

Goodnow says Arpaio is following in Trump’s footsteps when it comes to his legal strategy.

"Joe Arpaio is really following the lead of Donald Trump, at least when it comes to his legal defense strategy. He's blaming a lot on the Obama Justice Department. Of course, the irony here is that the judge that held Arpaio in contempt of court was a George W. Bush appointee.”

Arpaio wants to call Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a witness. Arpaio’s defense team argues Sessions’ testimony would highlight the contradiction between a current federal immigration order and the 2011 court order Arpaio violated.

“If you’re hoping to see Jeff Sessions testify — don’t hold your breath,” said Goodnow. “Jeff Sessions wants nothing to do with this. He said that in court papers and frankly his testimony would be irrelevant. Back in 2011, Sessions was a United States Senator. He had no information that would have any bearings in this case and even if that wasn't true his testimony would not change whether or not Joe violated that court order."

If convicted, Arpaio faces up to six months in jail and/or fines.