County Fined $1 Million|for Arpaio Investigation

     (CN) – Maricopa County, Arizona must pay nearly $1 million to settle claims that Sheriff Joe Arpaio wrongfully investigated an elected official, the 9th Circuit ruled Monday.
     Former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox sued Arpaio and others in 2011 for allegedly investigating her “in retaliation for her opposition to their stance on illegal immigration.”
     Wilcox also claimed that Arpaio and then-County Attorney Andrew Thomas had twice improperly indicted her for “participating in decisions of the Board of Supervisors when she had a conflict of interest,” according to her complaint.
     The charges against Wilcox were later dismissed. Thomas was disbarred in 2012, and Arpaio’s office is now subject to federal oversight.
     Because additional County Supervisors and many others had sued Arpaio and his office on similar charges, alleging they wrongfully investigated, prosecuted, and harassed them in retaliation for their opposition to the sheriff’s illegal immigration sweeps and other controversial actions over the years, the county moved to settle many of the claims, including those brought by Wilcox.
     Wilcox claimed that she received an email in 2012 in which the county agreed to settle her claims for $975,000. However, the county later refused to hand over the money and opposed Wilcox’s motion to enforce in Phoenix District Court.
     U.S. District Judge Neil Wake later granted the motion to enforce the settlement agreement, and a unanimous appellate panel affirmed on Monday.
     The county argued that Wilcox should not have been allowed to present the email approving the settlement at trial, but the appeals panel found that the county had waived this argument.
     Wilcox recently resigned from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and is running for Congress in Arizona’s District 7 as a Democrat.

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