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Judge still deciding whether to grant delay in Phoenix trial of Sheriff Joe Arpaio

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PHOENIX — A judge was still considering Wednesday whether to grant a request to postpone Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s trial on a criminal contempt-of-court charge.

The trial was scheduled to start Dec. 6. Arpaio’s lawyer told U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton that they needed more time.

The sheriff was charged with contempt for defying a court order to end his much-publicized immigration patrols.

He has pleaded not guilty to the criminal contempt charge filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Arpaio and several other MCSO staffers were found in civil contempt of court.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow said he believed the sheriff continued the patrols for over a year later because he believed it would help his 2012 campaign.

In court, Arpaio acknowledged the contempt violation but said it was unintentional, that he hadn’t understood the injunction.

His lawyers filed a motion at the end of October to have Snow recuse himself from anything else to do with the case.

The 84-year-old lawman is days away from an election that could keep him in office for a seventh straight term. He is opposed by Democrat Paul Penzone, a former Phoenix police officer.

KTAR legal analyst Monica Lindstrom said Arpaio could remain in office with a misdemeanor conviction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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