Judge Delays Joe Arpaio Criminal Contempt Trial

Published: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 1:56pm
Updated: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 3:29pm
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(Photo by Jimmy Jenkins - KJZZ)
The Federal Courthouse in Phoenix

A federal judge has pushed back the trial date of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The delay comes after a change-up in the defendant’s legal team.

Mel McDonald, long time attorney for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, withdrew from the case on April 6, citing an ethics rule.

Arpaio’s new defense team asked the judge to postpone the trial, saying it would take a herculean effort to get ready in a matter of weeks. Attorney  Jack Wilenchik says his team was not capable of adequately defending Arpaio by the April 25 court date.

“We’re just jumping into this case, we need additional time to prepare and that’s the reason for the continuance today and we will be prepared for this trial," Wilenchik said.

The judge said it was not Arpaio’s fault that McDonald dropped out and therefore he should not have to suffer a poorly prepared defense.  Arpaio is accused of intentionally violating a federal judge’s order to halt his immigration enforcement operations.

The government and the defense are deciding on a new trial date in late June or early July.

The judge also denied a motion to throw the criminal case out based on an appeal of the civil case in the 9th circuit.

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