Judge Questions MCSO Chief Deputy About Informant’s Investigation, Again

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 10:22pm
Updated: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 11:03pm

U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow wanted to know what Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan knew and when regarding confidential informant Dennis Montgomery’s efforts to link the judge in a conspiracy with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The contempt of court case against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and four others resumed on Tuesday at the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix.

For the second time since April, Judge Snow directly questioned MCSO Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan about his knowledge of a confidential informant’s efforts to link the judge in a conspiracy with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Snow seemed interested in what Sheridan knew and when about informant Dennis Montgomery’s investigation, and whether the chief deputy’s testimony on the subject in April was accurate.

Back in April, both Sheridan and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio confirmed they had hired Montgomery for a covert investigation but denied Snow was ever the target. They said he was hired to investigate allegations the CIA was hacking into the bank accounts of Maricopa County residents. Their testimony also mentioned Montgomery had claimed to have evidence the DOJ was tapping their phones and the phones of their attorneys.

On April 23 Snow ordered the sheriff’s office to turn over documents related to Montgomery’s work. Some of the documents have since been made public, and they include flowcharts and timelines linking Snow, the U.S. Department of Justice and plaintiffs’ counsel.

Since the contempt hearings resumed last week, Sheridan has maintained that the sheriff’s office never asked Montgomery to investigate Snow, but acknowledged that Montgomery offered to do so. He said  Montgomery tried to hook the sheriff’s office into paying him more money by offering to investigate Snow, but the sheriff’s office didn’t bite. Sheridan said when he learned Montgomery was going down this path, he gave his staff working with Montgomery an order not to investigate Snow.

On Tuesday, Snow asked Sheridan to recount step by step what he knew about Montgomery's efforts to investigate the DOJ.

Sheridan testified the last incident was that he saw one of Montgomery’s flowcharts with Snow’s name on it in April during the last round of contempt hearing. Sheridan had left the courthouse during lunch on April 24 to check on his staff’s progress rounding up Montgomery’s documents. That is when he said he saw the flowchart for the first time.

Sheridan said when he saw that document he “probably said a bad word.” He testified that he said at the time, “I have never seen this document before, this is not good.”

Snow pointed out that later that same day, Sheridan was on the witness stand and Snow had questioned him about Montgomery. 

“That afternoon I asked you about Montgomery you didn’t mention seeing this document did you?” Snow asked. “You did testify that you hadn’t seen anything that would suggest I was…involved,” Snow said. 

Sheridan said he did not recall.

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