PHOENIX - A new attorney defending Joe Arpaio in his criminal contempt case wants the trial delayed at least two months because the attorney's family is preparing for a bar mitzvah.
The former Maricopa County sheriff's trial is scheduled to start April 25.
In a court filing, attorney Mark Goldman said he needed time to "get up to speed in the case." Goldman added:
The Goldmans have a scheduling conflict as their only son’s Bar Mitzvah is being held on April 29, 2017. The Bar Mitzvah and all of the events surrounding it, were scheduled well over a year ago... In addition, The Goldmans will be hosting several out-of-town guests, including family members and friends, who will start arriving on or about April 23, 2017.
Mel McDonald, Arpaio's longtime criminal defense attorney, told me Monday he is still on the case.
"I am now trying the case with Mark Goldman," McDonald said.
The trial delay, if granted by Federal Judge Susan Bolton, would be the third in the criminal contempt case.
In a filing late Monday, federal prosecutors dismissed Goldman's request as "meritless."
McDonald and Goldman have known for weeks that Goldman would join the defense, the prosecutors say, but they waited until the government had filed the key documents in its case to ask for a delay. The prosecutors added:
"Mr. Goldman’s long-established personal and social obligations on a weekend provide no basis for a continuance, and the Court should reject this last-minute maneuver."
Arpaio, who was booted out of office by voters last November, is charged with intentionally ignoring a federal judge's orders in his racial profiling case.
Goldman is a longtime associate of Arpaio's and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
Arpaio must pay for his criminal defense out of his own pocket. He has hit up his supporters for contributions to a legal defense fund.