Add one more FBI investigation to the list of federal probes into Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Federal agents and the U.S. Attorney’s office are probing whether top Arpaio aide Chief Deputy David Hendershott — who has directed the day-to-day operations of the office for a number of years — mismanaged the department, according to a letter from the U.S. Attorney obtained by TPMMuckraker.
In the letter, first reported by the Arizona Republic, U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke confirmed to Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox that his office and federal agents are looking at allegations of wrongdoing by top Arpaio aides, including Hendershott, his second in command.
Deputy Chief Frank Munnell alleged in a 63-page memo that Hendershott and two other aides “willfully and intentionally committed criminal acts by attempting to obstruct justice, tamper with witnesses, and destroy evidence.”
In the Mennell memo, Hendershott was described as a bully who retaliated against those who questioned him and forced subordinates into refusing to cooperate with federal and state investigations. The memo also alleged that Hendershott used a public-corruption task force to allegedly launch politically motivated probes of the sheriff’s opponents, the Arizona Republic reported.
Others named in the memo include Sheriff’s Office Director Larry Black and Captain Joel Fox. FBI agents have been at the supervisor’s office as recently as yesterday, spokeswoman Cari Gerchick of the Maricopa County Supervisor’s office told TPMMuckraker.
DOJ is already conducting a criminal abuse-of-power investigation and an investigation into allegations of racial discrimination by the Sheriff’s Office. The Justice Department filed suit against Arpaio’s office for not cooperating with the discrimination probe. Arpaio’s office also allegedly misused up to $80 million on expenses like such as unnecessary luxury trips.