Sheriff Arpaio acknowledges judge's wife was investigated

It was a rough day in court Thursday for Joe Arpaio.

At times the Sheriff looked defeated, especially when the judge asked him directly why he deliberately disobeyed his orders to stop the immigration sweeps, and when Arpaio admitted he had a private investigator tail the judge's wife.

A lot of bombshells came out of his testimony on the witness stand. Arpaio admitted that he should have known more about the order, and that he let it "fall through the cracks."

He also apologized to the court and the judge for not following his orders. The Sheriff and his attorney said that nobody willfully violated the judge's orders.

Instead Arpaio called it "miscommunication and disorganization."

The biggest bombshell came when Arpaio admitted to having a private investigator monitor the judge's wife. This after a tipster said that the judge's wife at a restaurant was saying her husband would see to it that Arpaio was never re-elected.

"We already know about the testimony over the past three days, that the Sheriff and others violated the court orders, and we have the evidence, and we've proved our case. My concern is only that the Sheriff and MCSO be forced to comply with the court order and stop violating civil rights," said attorney Cecillia Wang. 

Some say the admission that Arpaio hired an investigator to tail the judge's wife isn't surprising at all.

Over the years Arpaio has had Superior Court Judges, County Supervisors, and business owners who stood in his way investigated and charged with crimes. Only to have those crimes later dismissed because of a lack of evidence, or shoddy police work.

"He would be outside my house with deputy cars at 5 in the morning. Later in discovery we discovered he looked at all my mail coming to my home, oh yes you could feel it, it was a chilling effect," said former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

Wilcox is an outspoken critic of Arpaio and once faced several charges after an investigation by MCSO. Those charges were later dropped. She says she is one of many that have been targeted by the Sheriff for political reasons. So the revelation that Arpaio  had a federal judge's wife investigated hit close to home for her.

"They try to attack your family, they try to attack everything about you, it's a fishing expedition," said Wilcox.

"Having a U.S. District Court Judge's wife investigated is wrong, and it may be a criminal defense," said Paul Charlton, a former U.S. District Attorney.

Charlton said the Sheriff used the same intimidation tactics on Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe. Arpaio charged Donahoe with several felonies after ruling against him in court. Those charges were later dropped.

"This is exactly the way he conducts himself when he's faced with a decision by a judge that he doesn't like, he begins to do an investigation to see whether or not he can intimidate other individuals and compel them to rule in a way that is favorable to him," said Charlton.

It's now up to either Judge Murray or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to initiate action against Arpaio on his latest admission. 

"Hopefully the FBI is paying attention to this very public and ongoing hearing, and they will take their own initiative to determine whether or not a crime occured here or not," he said.

"This is your Sheriff, don't keep re-electing him, he needs to be out of office, he needs to be in jail," said Wilcox.

Both Wilcox and Donahoe received settlements of close to, or more than $1 million because of Arpaio's investigations. 

The Sheriff wrapped up his testimony in court Thursday afternoon. The contempt hearing continues Friday.
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