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Nick R. Martin

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Nick

It may seem at times like the investigations into Sheriff Joe Arpaio are endless. In the past four years, he and some of his closest aides have been the subject of at least five investigations into accusations that they became corrupted by the power and perks of the office.

Throughout it all, his aides have fallen, but the Arizona lawman remains untouched. Two investigations cleared him outright, one stalled and was transferred to another agency and two more have dragged on as officials in Washington, D.C. decide whether to act. Meanwhile, Arpaio continues to taunt his pursuers.

More recently, a disciplinary panel in Arizona that was looking into allegations against one of Arpaio's allies said there was evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt" to show that the sheriff participated in a federal crime in December 2009. Still, Arpaio, 79, remains a player in the Republican Party and continues to run for office, aiming for his sixth term as sheriff this year.

Understandably, it might be hard for a casual observer to keep all the investigations straight. TPM has compiled this guide to the many investigations and what resulted from them. It shows that Arpaio has been a target for years, but that he also has given political and financial help to some of the very people who cleared him or shelved investigations.

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Two current and two former Los Angeles International Airport screeners with the Transportation Security Administration were arrested and charged with taking bribes to look the other way while drug shipments passed through x-ray machines, federal officials announced on Wednesday.

The four were indicted on Sunday along with three alleged drug runners, who prosecutors said brought cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana through the airport checkpoints.

The payments that were allegedly made were $2,400 or less, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer downplayed Tuesday's congressional hearing on her state's tough immigration law, saying "I don't think many people get C-SPAN3."

Brewer made the comment to Arizona political journalist Brahm Resnik at an NBC television studio in Washington, D.C. Resnik posted the quote on Twitter a short time later.

Here are Resnik's tweets:

Editors note: This post has been updated to reflect Brewer was talking about a congressional hearing and not Wednesday's US Supreme Court hearing.

Andrew Thomas, the ex-prosecutor who spent years as a close ally of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, announced on Tuesday he won't appeal his disbarment.

The Arizona Republic reported that Thomas released a statement saying he believed the Arizona Supreme Court would have been biased against him because he had pursued cases against lower court judges.

Thomas was disbarred earlier this month for using the powers of his office to target his and Arpaio's political enemies with lawsuits and criminal investigations.

The police chief for Sanford, Fla., was spared — at least for now — from losing his job on Monday over his department's handling of the Trayvon Martin case.

At the end of a spirited hour-long meeting, the Sanford city commission voted to reject Chief Bill Lee's resignation, which he offered to the city earlier in the day.

However, the commission also decided to keep Lee on the sidelines and continue to search for an interim chief until a full investigation of his conduct could be completed.

Lee temporarily stepped down last month after the commission voted it had no confidence in him amid national uproar over the Feb. 26 killing of Martin, an unarmed teen who was shot to death by a local neighborhood watchman.

"I'm not ready for him to come back to the police department. But I'm not sure I'm ready for this, either," Mayor Jeff Triplett said, referring to the resignation.

Lee offered to quit following negotiations with City Manager Norton Bonaparte, Jr., but commission members said his resignation letter also indicated he was willing to continue to serve if the city wanted him to stay on.

George Zimmerman has reportedly already pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

The Orlando Sentinel looked at documents unsealed today in the case against Zimmerman, who was released early this morning on bond from a Seminole County jail, and discovered his attorney filed a written plea days ago.

Zimmerman is scheduled to be arraigned next month and was expected to plead not guilty at that time. It's unclear what effect the newly revealed plea will have on that hearing.

The Sentinel notes that the Zimmerman case has been shrouded in a fair amount of secrecy since he was charged earlier this month. Prosecutors have agreed with Zimmerman's defense team to keep most of the filings in the case under seal.

Media attorneys are scheduled on Friday to ask the judge to unseal all the files in the case.

The police chief of Sanford, Fla., is expected to resign this afternoon amid fallout from the Trayvon Martin case, according to multiple reports.

Chief Bill Lee was suspended last month after the killing of the unarmed teen drew national attention to the Florida city.

Now, both CBS News and CNN are reporting he will step down. CBS also said an assistant chief in the department may resign as well.

George Zimmerman's arraignment, where he is expected to plead not guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, has been moved up to May 8.

The hearing had been scheduled for later in the month but a listing on the Seminole County court clerk's website said today it is now scheduled for the new date.

Zimmerman was released from a Seminole County jail early this morning after posting bond and being fitted with a GPS tracker.

Zimmerman has said he acted in self defense when he shot and killed Martin on the night of Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla.

TPMLivewire