PHOENIX – U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton signed the order to officially charge Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio with criminal contempt-of-court on Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, prosecutors promised to charge Arpaio, but it would not be official until a judge signed the agreement, according to the Associated Press.
The charge stems from an on-going racial profiling case. Arpaio’s office had been ordered by a judge to stop his controversial program of stopping someone based on the suspicion they were an undocumented immigrant. The office failed to comply and Arpaio was found in civil contempt in May 2016. He was referred for criminal charges in August and federal prosecutors said two weeks ago they would seek those charges.
The sheriff is seeking his seventh-term in office and is facing a strong campaign by Democrat Paul Penzone.
Arpaio and his attorney, Mel McDonald, have called the charges politically motivated.
Arpaio could face up to six months in prison if convicted of the misdemeanor charge.