Famed Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas and their top deputies are accused by the FBI of abuse-of-power allegations. The Arizona Republic has reported Saturday the federal investigative agency is convinced they have sufficient evidence to charge some of the probe’s targets.
Yet federal prosecutors decided "a lack of evidence or an insurmountable burden of proof," the newspaper said.
Was it a witch hunt by the Obama administration? Sheriff Joe Arpaio thinks so.
The three-year investigation concluded in August 2012, when the U.S. Attorney's Office for Arizona produced no indictments. The Arpaio people had been scrutinized for civil-rights violations, misuse of public money and perjury, according to the paper.
The Republic found the "the report makes clear that FBI agents believed evidence was strong enough to prosecute some of those under investigation. Due to redactions, it is impossible to ascertain from the FBI records how many county law-enforcement officials were referred for criminal charges, who they were, or what conduct was considered unlawful."
Arpaio couldn’t be reached for comment. Most likely advised to remain silent –not one of his biggest virtues. But earlier in 2012, he said "If I did something wrong, there would be indictments floating all over the place."
The FBI began the investigation in 2008 after receiving complaints from former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and other local officials about Arpaio. The probe later expanded to include possible state crimes.
As of January, according to the Republic, taxpayers had footed "at least" $44.4 million for the legal battles.
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