- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Attorneys for Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Thursday the lawman’s adversaries were trying ruin the careers of some of his employees when they suggested ways to remedy a judge’s finding that the sheriff disobeyed court orders in a racial profiling case.

The lawyers pressing the profiling case against Arpaio previously suggested that Jerry Sheridan, the sheriff’s second-in-command, be fired for ignoring the judge’s order to stop the sheriff’s immigration patrols and for making false statements on the witness stand.

Arpaio’s attorneys said in a court filing Thursday the proposal by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups “lustfully” called for Sheridan’s resignation, when the sheriff’s top aide had already agreed to accept a 40-hour suspension for violating the order to stop the patrols.

Arpaio attorney John Masterson said the proposal to fire Sheridan “cannot be seen as anything but spiteful malevolence fueled by a vengeful rancor.”

The ACLU had no immediate comment on Arpaio’s filing.

The profiling case that Arpaio lost three years ago led to a contempt-of-court proceeding after U.S. District Judge Murray Snow accused the sheriff and some of his aides of violating court orders.

Seven weeks ago, Arpaio and Sheridan were found to be in civil contempt, bringing the pair closer to a possible criminal contempt case that could expose them to fines and even jail time.

Snow hasn’t yet imposed punishments but is expected to order an overhaul of the agency’s internal affairs investigations and create a fund to pay damages to Latinos who were illegally detained when Arpaio ignored the order to stop the patrols.

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Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/jacques-billeaud.

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