Longtime Arpaio lawyer Mel McDonald asks to be removed ahead of contempt trial

Posted at 9:06 PM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-04 01:37:48-04

An attorney who leads the legal team of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants to withdraw as counsel for the ex-lawman is his upcoming criminal contempt-of-court trial.

Mel McDonald filed a motion Monday, saying "professional considerations require termination of the representation."

FULL COVERAGE: Joe Arpaio's contempt-of-court case

He also said in the filing that "good cause exists because withdrawal is mandatory" pursuant to an ethical rule.

Arpaio is scheduled to stand trial April 25 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

He's charged with contempt for ignoring a court order in a racial profiling case to stop his immigration patrols.

Arpaio acknowledged prolonging his patrols but says his defiance wasn't intentional. At a hearing in October 2016, he entered a plea of not guilty.

If convicted, he faces up to six months in jail.


The 84-year-old Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term as sheriff last November.