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FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio,  center left, and his attorney Mel McDonald leave U.S. District Court in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
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Head of ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s legal team wants to withdraw as counsel

FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, center left, and his attorney Mel McDonald leave U.S. District Court in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX — A federal judge has scheduled a hearing Thursday afternoon on a top attorney’s motion to withdraw from former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s upcoming criminal contempt-of-court trial.

Mel McDonald leads the legal team for Arpaio, who’s set to stand trial April 25 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

McDonald’s motion Monday said “professional considerations require termination of the representation” and “good cause exists because withdrawal is mandatory” pursuant to an ethical rule.

Arpaio was charged with contempt for ignoring a court order in a racial profiling case to stop his immigration patrols. He has acknowledged prolonging his patrols, but says his defiance wasn’t intentional.

If convicted, Arpaio faces up to six months in jail.

The 84-year-old Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term as sheriff last November.

 

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