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Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio found guilty of criminal contempt

A federal judge says former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio is guilty of contempt for refusing an order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. Arpaio's attorneys said Monday they would appeal the verdict.

Arpaio was accused of violating a court order in a racial profiling case by continuing patrols targeting immigrants. US District Court Judge Susan Bolton handed down her verdict in court papers signed on Monday.

"The evidence at trial proves beyond a reasonable doubt and the Court finds that Judge (G. Murray) Snow issued a clear and definite order enjoining Defendant from detaining persons for further investigation without reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed; that Defendant knew of the order; and that Defendant willfully violated the order by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed.

"Because the Court finds that Defendant willfully violated an order of the court, it finds Defendant guilty of criminal contempt," Bolton wrote.

Arpaio's attorneys, Dennis and Jack Wilenchik, said in a statement that the former sheriff would appeal the verdict to get a jury trial. The statement said Bolton violated the Constitution by issuing the verdict without reading it to Arpaio in court.

"Her verdict is contrary to what every single witness testified in the case. Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will," the statement said.

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