Attorneys for Arizona’s former sheriff, Joe Arpaio, have announced that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is included on a list to testify as a witness in his criminal contempt charge, centered on racial profiling in October 2016.
Highly controversial former sheriff Arpaio is facing criminal contempt charges that claim he disobeyed a 2011 court order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow to stop immigration enforcement operations. That judge ruled that the operations involved racial profiling of Hispanics.
The Hill reports:
Arpaio pleaded not guilty to the contempt charge in October of last year, claiming his disobedience was unintentional. The charge carries up to six months in jail upon conviction.
According to Arpaio’s attorneys, Sessions is one of several on a list of their desired witnesses in a federal court filing late Wednesday, said The Arizona Republic.
Other news outlets claim that Sessions’ name appears as a supplement to the original witness list, which included names of Arpaio’s former aides while he served at the Maricopa County sheriff’s office.
The chances of Sessions actually testifying on the stand are nearly nonexistent, said Paul Charlton, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona. He claims several regulations come into play when someone subpoenas a federal employee and it would require Arpaio’s attorneys to show it was both appropriate and necessary to call Sessions to the stand, which Charlton contends, will likely be met with objections by federal prosecutors.
“There is almost no circumstance I can envision in which he would be allowed to come forward and testify,” Charlton said.
The former sheriff’s lead defense attorney dropped out of the case last week, with only three weeks remaining until the trial. After the attorney departed, two new attorneys joined the case and were able to convince a federal judge to delay the start of his trial from April 25 to June, said The Republic.
Arpaio lost the recent reelection bid in November to Paul Penzone, ending his over two-decade-long career of making national headlines regarding his firm stance on illegal immigration.
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