Federal authorities announced late Friday they were dropping the four-year criminal investigation into Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio and would not be pressing abuse of power charges against him.
The announcement came late on a Friday ahead of a long holiday weekend. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona made the disclosure through a three-sentence press release. An auto-response email from the office’s spokesman said no one would answer questions about the decision. An outgoing message on the spokesman’s cell phone said the same thing.
Arpaio’s office said he had no immediate comment but planned to hold a news conference at 10:30 p.m., Eastern time.
The move put an end to an investigation that began in 2008 and included use of a federal grand jury. Multiple high-level Maricopa County sheriff’s officials testified before the grand jury in 2010, but the probe went quiet in recent months.
The FBI led the investigation and was said to be looking at whether Arpaio used the powers of his office to target his political enemies. At one point in 2009, his office along with the county’s elected prosecutor were investigating at least 14 local government officials, all of whom had defied Arpaio in some way. The targets included judges, politicians and others officials high up in local government.
The news release said federal authorities were dropping the case against current and former members of both the sheriff’s office and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
The decision comes just three days after Arpaio, 80, won the Republican primary for sheriff, a race in which he was unopposed. First elected in 1992, he is seeking a sixth term in office this year and will face off against Democrat Paul Penzone and independent Mike Stauffer in November.
This horrible fucker should be rotting in jail! Maricopa County Residents should vote out Fascist Goon Arpaio and replace him with Paul Penzone (D)!