By Steve Neavling
Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, a prominent Donald Trump supporter who has been a firebrand for the anti-immigration movement, is expected to be charged for willfully defying federal court orders.
The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section said Tuesday it intends to take the Maricopa County sheriff to trial on criminal charges, the Washington Post reports.
Arpaio is accused of failing to stop targeting undocumented immigrants without a legal basis.
Arpaio’s attorney, Mel McDonald, said the sheriff “vehemently denies that he was ever knowingly and willfully contemptuous of any court order” and plans to fight the case.
U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow ruled in August that the sheriff was defying the court’s order, and the sheriff’s office “continued to stop and detain persons based on factors including their race, and frequently arrested and delivered such persons to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] when there were no state charges to bring against them.”
“Sheriff Arpaio did so based on the notoriety he received for, and the campaign donations he received because of, his immigration enforcement activity,” Snow wrote.