A sheriff in Arizona controversial for his hardline approach to immigration enforcement has been officially charged with criminal contempt-of-court for failing to end immigration patrols in the state despite a judge’s orders.
Joe Arpaio, 84, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., could face up to six months in jail if convicted of the misdemeanor, which was filed against him by prosecutors and signed by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. “We believe that when the final chapter is written, he will be vindicated,” Mel McDonald, a lawyer for Arpaio, told the AP.
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The sheriff, who has held his post since 1993 and is known for being tough on immigration enforcement, plans to plead not guilty, his lawyer said. Arpaio is up for re-election in two weeks.