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Attorney forced to testify against Joe Arpaio

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, second from right, leaves U.S. District Court on the first day of his contempt-of-court trial with attorney Mark Goldman, left, Monday, June 26, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, second from right, leaves U.S. District Court on the first day of his contempt-of-court trial with attorney Mark Goldman, left, Monday, June 26, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A lawyer who once represented former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a racial profiling case has testified that he had several meetings with Arpaio to discuss a court order that barred traffic patrols targeting immigrants.

Attorney Tim Casey was forced to testify Monday at Arpaio’s trial on a criminal contempt-of-court charge for prolonging the patrols after a judge ordered them stopped.

Arpaio is on trial on a contempt-of-court charge for violating a judge’s order to stop conducting the traffic patrols targeting immigrants that helped make him a national political figure.

The questioning got bogged down in objections over whether attorney-client privilege barred Casey from providing details of his conversations with Arpaio.

Casey says he told Arpaio that his officers either had to arrest immigrants on state charges or release them.

Prosecutors say Arpaio turned the detainees over to federal authorities in violation of the judge’s order.

In opening statements Monday, prosecutor Victor Salgado cited news releases and TV interviews by Arpaio bragging about his immigration enforcement. The prosecutor says Arpaio’s own words prove the government’s case that he willfully defied a judge’s orders.

Arpaio’s lawyer vigorously disputed that a person with nearly 60 years in law enforcement would violate a court order on purpose.

Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Arpaio’s request to let a jury instead of a judge decide whether he is guilty of the criminal charge.

Arpaio faces up to six months in prison if he’s convicted, although many doubt he will be put behind bars.

The 85-year-old Arpaio was ousted from office by a significant margin last year. 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