Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is asking the public for money for his legal fees.
The controversial sheriff of Maricopa County sent an email to supporters Thursday saying he felt “targeted” by various groups “that file legal actions against me for a variety of reasons.”
Arpaio who has made waves for questioning the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate and for his strong stance against illegal immigration, among other things, said he doesn’t have “the personal wealth or the wherewithal to keep up with the costly demands of paying for attorneys to defend me.”
“I’m going to keep fighting for what I know is right. I took an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution and I will keep that oath until my last breath,” he wrote in his request for supporters to donate to the “Joe Arpaio Legal Defense Fund.”
But critics say Arpaio is just trying to take advantage of his reputation to rake in some unneeded cash.
According to Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, Arpaio doesn’t need to worry about legal bills because Maricopa County pays most of them. And, he says, the sheriff is a millionaire to boot.
Lemons cited public records that state that under the corporation Ava Investments, Arpaio and his wife own 10 properties in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills, including their home, at a total cash value of more than $2.4 million and have at least a 50 percent interest in their business, Starworld Travel Agency.
Arpaio’s request comes as he is awaiting a decision from U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow on whether he broke the law by not following a 2011 court order to change sheriff’s office policies that critics say show bias against minorities, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It also came one day before he requested Snow be removed from the case because Arpaio’s former lawyer sanctioned a clandestine investigation of the judge’s wife, the Times reported.
According to the Times, the sheriff is facing an even greater legal confrontation with federal judge David G. Campbell, who ordered a halt to Arizona’s enforcement of identity theft laws aimed at punishing illegal immigrants who steal identities in order to work illegally.
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