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Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio seeks jury trial in contempt case

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed an appeal in federal court on Friday to request a jury trial in his criminal contempt case.

In a 77-page petition to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Arapio’s attorneys said U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton has erred in twice denying the ex-lawman a jury trial.

The appeal comes just two days after Bolton postponed the trial after Arpaio’s lead attorney quit the case last week.

Other lawyers who recently joined his legal team said they didn’t have enough time to properly prepare for the trial that had been set to begin April 25. Bolton ordered the bench trial will be held June 26-30 and July 5-7.

Arapio’s new lawyers said their client is entitled to a jury trial, but Bolton “will not entertain any further demands” for one. They also said Arapio’s case would be “damaged or prejudiced in a way that is not correctable on appeal” if Bolton rules from the bench.

Bolton previously concluded the jury trial requests were made after a deadline for pretrial filings had passed.

Arpaio, who served as sheriff in the Phoenix area, faces the misdemeanor charge after prolonging his immigration patrols for 17 months — even though a judge in a racial profiling case had ordered them stopped.

He has acknowledged extending the patrols but said his defiance wasn’t intentional. If convicted, the 84-year-old could face up to six months in jail.

Arpaio’s lawyers were also busy adding U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to their witness list, according to documents filed the same day as the postponement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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