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ACLU Legal Director Sues `Toughest Sheriff in America’

PHOENIX (CN) - The legal director of the ACLU in Arizona has filed a civil rights action against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio over the director's arrest when he went to observe a protest of Arpaio's anti-immigrant policies. In the suit filed yesterday, legal director Daniel Pochoda says Arpaio trumped up a charge of "criminal trespass" on a public street, then lied about the incident to the media.

Pochoda says Arpaio locked him up for 10 hours. The fracas happened on Nov. 3, 2007. Pochoda was acquitted of the misdemeanor charge on Sept. 8 this year, an acquittal which Arpaio criticized, saying he would do the same thing again.

Arpaio, who calls himself "the toughest sheriff in America," seeks and gets extensive media attention for his anti-immigrant crusades.

Pochoda demands damages for abuse of process, malicious prosecution, gross negligence, libel, invasion of privacy, aiding and abetting tortious conduct, and constitutional violations. He also sued three deputies.

Pochoda's complaint states that he spent $20,000 in legal fees to defend himself from the misdemeanor charge.

Pochoda is represented in Maricopa County Court by Joel Robbins and Anne Findling.

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