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Sheriff Joe Arpaio admits to secretly investigating federal contempt judge’s family

LISTEN: Sheriff Joe in Court - Monica Lindstrom

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff admitted to the court Thursday that he and his deputies secretly investigated the presiding judge’s family in his contempt-of-court hearing.

Arpaio said his agency hired a private investigator to investigate U.S. District Judge Murray Snow’s wife. An email tipster told Arpaio the wife had made comments about Snow wanting Arpaio out of office.

Snow ordered Arpaio to turn over all documents related to the investigation.

Prior to revealing the investigation, Arpaio apologized to Snow, saying that he had respect for the court and that, “It hurts me, after 55 years, to be in this position.”

The sheriff could face fines if he’s found in contempt of court for his acknowledged violations of the injunction and two other orders issued in a racial-profiling case that Arpaio eventually lost.

Arpaio claimed he did not understand the injunction.