The longtime sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix has been formally charged with criminal contempt-of-court for ignoring a judge's order in a racial-profiling case.
Prosecutors promised two weeks ago that they would charge Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but the misdemeanor count wasn't officially filed against the 84-year-old lawman until a judge signed an order on Tuesday.
He could face up to six months in jail if convicted.
The charge comes as Arpaio is seeking a seventh term in office.
Arpaio ran a TV commercial last week saying the Obama administration's Justice Department was going to prosecute him because of its opposition to the sheriff's immigration enforcement efforts.
The sheriff has acknowledged defying a judge's order in the profiling case to stop his immigration patrols.
lawyer Mel McDonald and the sheriff's office didn't immediately return calls seeking comment on the charge.
Arpaio's officers were found to have violated the rights of Latinos.
Mel McDonald, Arpaio's attorney, released the following statement:
"When they filed on Oct. 12, we knew eventually the charge will be filed, so we were fully expecting this. We will be pleading not guilty and vigorously contesting the allegations."