- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio hasn’t officially asked for a pardon from President Trump, but is seeking a new trial or to have his criminal contempt conviction thrown out by an Arizona court, according to his lawyers.

In two new filings late Monday with the court that convicted him in June, Arpaio says he was subjected to double jeopardy, should have been allowed a jury trial and was maltreated by the judge who used evidence selectively to paint the lawman in the worst possible light.

Arpaio’s lawyers said the former sheriff of Maricopa County should either be granted an acquittal or given a new trial.

“These filings outline the egregious conduct of the trial court, its refusal to take into consideration the evidence at trial and its denial of due process rights for our client,” Mark D. Goldman, one of Arpaio’s lawyers, told The Washington Times, describing the filings as unusual but necessary given the way the judge handled the case.

The filings came after President Trump said over the weekend that he is “seriously considering” granting a pardon to Arpaio, an early supporter of his presidential campaign.

Arpaio was convicted by Judge Susan Bolton of contempt of court after finding that he willfully ignored another judge’s 2011 order that he stop using traffic enforcement to sniff out illegal immigrants, holding them for pickup by federal authorities.

In the new filings the sheriff argues that the 2011 order wasn’t clear, and that under state law he felt compelled to hold illegal immigrants his deputies encountered. The sheriff also questions Judge Bolton’s approach to the case, saying she based her conviction on snippets of testimony that, when put in context, made clear Arpaio did not intend to break the court’s order.

“If a lawyer were to selectively cite quotes in the manner this court did, that manner would be subject to the wrath of the court, sanctions and contempt himself. That’s how outrageous the selective citations were by the trial court in rendering its baseless verdict,” Mr. Goldman said.

Arpaio’s team says Judge Bolton’s guilty verdict rested on her ruling that Arpaio had been clearly and properly warned that stopping and holding illegal immigrants for federal authorities would violate the 2011 court order. She said the warning to Arpaio came in a warning from his lawyer at the time, who said he told Arpaio it “was likely, not definitively, but likely a violation.”

Arpaio’s lawyers say Judge Bolton focused only on the “likely” part and ignored the “not definitively” statement.

Mr. Trump told Fox News on Sunday that he is pondering a pardon for Arpaio, and a decision could come soon.

Arpaio has not filed an official request for a pardon with the Justice Department.

The president’s pardon power is absolute and doesn’t require a formal request, but it was policy under the Obama administration to have those seeking clemency officially submit a lengthy application, which would then trigger vetting.

“The sheriff has never formally requested a pardon, but he is amenable to accepting one,” Mr. Goldman said.

The Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney has received 2,010 pardon petitions and 9,361 clemency petitions since the start of the Trump administration. None have been granted, meaning Arpaio could potentially be the first person pardoned by Mr. Trump.

Immigration crackdown advocates cheered Mr. Trump’s suggestion that he might pardon the sheriff, and said the president should also reward him with a top border security post.

“Many supporters of both Arpaio and Trump have been very disappointed with President Trump’s neglect of his ally Joe Arpaio,” said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee. “Pardoning Arpaio and appointing him to a border security position would be welcome news among those of us who fought so hard to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.”

Arpaio served six terms as sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona before losing his re-election bid in November. Just before voting began, the Obama Justice Department said it would prosecute the contempt case that had been referred to it by a federal judge who felt his original 2011 order had been violated.

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