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

A spokeswoman for Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday night struck back at critics who called for the US Justice Department to either charge the Arizona lawman with a crime or else clear his name.

Spokeswoman Lisa Allen said the four prominent Arizonans who sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last week asking him to bring a swift end to the lengthy criminal investigation of the sheriff were little more than longtime critics trying to get some new attention.

"These former officials have joined the chorus of open border activists by being overtly displeased with the Sheriff’s stance on illegal immigration," Allen said in an email to TPM. "With little else in their crosshairs, they continue their years long tirade against Sheriff Arpaio by pleading with the federal government to pay more attention to their complaint."

The four Arizonans included former US Attorney Paul Charlton, a longtime GOP member who told TPM on Wednesday that he believed federal prosecutors have enough evidence to charge his fellow Republican with a crime.

The way former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton sees it, federal prosecutors already have enough evidence to charge Sheriff Joe Arpaio with a crime. So, he said in an interview with TPM this week, it's time for the Justice Department to act.

"If this investigation began in 2008," Charlton said, "then it's time for these guys to make a decision."

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Family members of George Zimmerman, the man charged in the killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, will testify for him by phone during a bail hearing set for Friday in a Florida court, television station WKMG reported.

Zimmerman is expected to ask to be released from jail while he awaits trial on a second-degree murder charge in the Feb. 26 killing, which has drawn national scrutiny. A judge is scheduled to hear arguments on Friday.

WKMG reported that an emergency hearing was held Thursday to arrange for Zimmerman's family to testify by phone in the hearing.


Florida Judge Jessica Recksiedler on Wednesday stepped down from the second-degree murder case of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

Recksiedler gave in to a request from Zimmerman's attorney, who said the judge had a conflict of interest because her husband was hired by CNN to do commentary on the case.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Judge Kenneth Lester Jr., would take over.

A Florida judge is expected to step aside today from the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel.

On Monday, Zimmerman's lawyer asked Judge Jessica Recksiedler to recuse herself because of a conflict of interest. Recksiedler's husband works with a lawyer who was hired by CNN to do commentary on the case.

If Recksiedler does step aside, the newspaper said one of three criminal court judges in Seminole County would be chosen to replace her.

There are times when Sheriff Joe Arpaio has seemed untouchable. In his nearly 20 years in office, he has survived political challenges, court judgments and criminal investigations.

But a ruling filed last week by an arm of the Arizona Supreme Court could prove to be a road map to the Republican lawman's undoing.

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A video uncovered by PBS's Need To Know and set to air this week appears to show US border agents from California using a stun gun on a Mexican man before his death.

Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas died in 2010 following an altercation with agents from the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection near San Diego.

The full segment is set to air Friday, but Need To Know has posted a preview online. In the video, Hernandez-Rojas can be seen on the ground, surrounded by about a dozen agents. He did not appear to be resisting arrest when an agent deployed a stun gun.

Watch the preview here:

George Zimmerman's neighbors in Florida spotted him with bandages on his nose and the back of his head the day after he killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, according to a report from Reuters.

The account from neighbor Jorge Rodriguez and his wife as well as a neighbor who requested anonymity would seem to back Zimmerman's claim that he was injured in the Feb. 26 confrontation with the teen. Zimmerman told police he shot and killed Martin in self defense.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder last week. For his defense, he is expected to use the state's Stand Your Ground law, which makes it legal to shoot someone if the gunman believes his life is in jeopardy.

Justice Department officials have had some tough words for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in recent months. They've accused him of civil rights abuses, threatened him with a lawsuit and leaked angry letters saying that they've run out of patience with him.

But amid it all, some of the very people the Justice Department claims to speak for in their civil rights probe of the Arizona lawman have told TPM they have little faith the federal government will come through for them. Not even a massive lawsuit, they said, will ease their skepticism.

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