By JACQUES BILLEAUD
PHOENIX (AP) — A special prosecutor will be appointed to defend a court ruling that dismissed the now-pardoned criminal case against former metro Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio but did not erase his criminal record from his conviction for disobeying a 2011 court order to halt traffic patrols targeting immigrants.
The prosecutor is being appointed because the U.S. Justice Department ultimately overseen by President Donald Trump has refused to defend the judge’s ruling.
Arpaio is a Trump ally who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona and wants his criminal record expunged.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the appointment of the special prosecutor on Tuesday.
The judge’s decision dismissed Apraio’s case but did not throw out court records related to his conviction.