PHOENIX (AP) — Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been convicted of a criminal charge for disobeying a court order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.
The conviction Monday marks a final rebuke for a politician who once drew strong popularity from such crackdowns but was booted from office amid voter frustrations over his deepening legal troubles.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued a 14-page order Monday that found Arpaio guilty of misdemeanor contempt of court for prolonging the patrols.
Prosecutors say Arpaio ignored the order so he could promote his immigration efforts to boost his 2012 campaign.
The former sheriff of metro Phoenix acknowledged prolonging the patrols but insisted it wasn’t intentional.
The 85-year-old faces up to six months in jail, though attorneys who have followed the case doubt he’ll be incarcerated.
Defense lawyers said Arpaio will appeal his criminal conviction and claimed Bolton violated the U.S. Constitution by issuing her ruling without reading it to the former lawman in open court.
They also said her verdict is contrary to what witnesses testified in court and that Arpaio believes a jury would have sided with him.
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