WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Oct. 4, U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton’s decision at the hearing in Phoenix that President Trump’s pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was valid is a big win for Trump in his on-going battle with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Only the day before, on Oct. 3, Bloomberg reported Mueller had assigned the task of researching the limits of Trump’s pardon ability to Michael Dreeben, Mueller’s top legal counsel with more than 100 Supreme Court appearances.
Infowars.com has previously reported that on Sept. 29, thirty Democratic members of Congress submitted an amici curiae brief to Judge Bolton arguing that President Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Arpaio was unconstitutional because it violated the separation of powers by asserting “an encroachment by the Executive on the independence of the Judiciary.”
Arpaio’s Arpaio’s attorney, Mark Goldman, Goldman & Zillinger PLLC in Scottsdale, explained to Infowars.com in an exclusive telephone interview that Judge Bolton had allowed the amicus curiae briefs to be filed in this criminal case – a highly unusual move in that amicus briefs are typically not allowed in criminal cases – because she was inclined to rule that Trump’s pardon of Arpaio was unconstitutional, if she could find sufficient legal precedents to make that ruling.
But, Goldman agreed that by ruling Trump’s pardon of Arpaio was within Trump’s authority under the Constitution, Judge Bolton made more difficult the job Mueller had assigned to Dreeban, namely, to find an argument at law that could convince the Supreme Court that President Trump would exceed his constitutional authority if he should issue a presidential pardon to his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, or to his former national security advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn.
“I analogize this to a football touchdown where neither team is contesting the touchdown, and there is indisputable video evidence that the player made a touchdown, yet the referees decide to spend 15 minutes reviewing the play,” Goldman said.
“If there was any way Judge Bolton could have ruled Trump’s pardon of Arpaio unconstitutional, with looking ridiculous for so ruling, she would have done so,” Goldman stressed. “The arguments in the amicus briefs, including the amicus brief submitted by the Democratic congressmen were so frivolous and without merit that the Congressmen should be ashamed of themselves.”
Goldman added that Arpaio was considering filing a lawsuit in federal court seeking to sanction the Democratic members of Congress filing what he considered an inappropriate and frivolous amici curiae brief, emphasizing that he “can’t wait” for the opportunity to take a video deposition of the members of Congress who signed the amici curiae brief.
On Sept. 11, the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division of the U. S. Department of Justice filed a petition with Judge Bolton asking her to vacate her verdict on July 6, in which she found Arpaio was guilty of a criminal misdemeanor for disobeying a preliminary injunction issued in a civil case involving a Maricopa County traffic stop.
“A pardon issued before entry of final judgment moots a criminal case because the defendant will face no consequences that result from the guilty verdict,” the Justice Department argued to Judge Bolton. “Accordingly, the government agrees the Court should vacate all orders and dismiss the case as moot.”
In response for Judge Bolton’s request for additional arguments, the Public Integrity Division filed a second brief dated Sept. 21, 2017, arguing that Judge Bolton should vacate Arpaio’s conviction because President Trump’s pardon was issued prior to the sentencing that was needed to make the conviction final.
“The Defendant’s verdict should be vacated and the case dismissed as moot,” the Justice Department argued to Judge Bolton in this second legal brief. “No further action is requested or required, and the presidential pardon does not require the alteration, destruction, erasure, expungement, or sealing of the record in this case.”
At the hearing on Oct. 4, Judge Bolton refused to vacate her guilty verdict, despite ruling that the Arpaio pardon was valid, thereby notifying Arpaio and the Justice Department that she intended to rule by issuing a written order at a later date as to whether or not to vacate her guilty verdict.
“It’s an unusual ruling in that the prosecution and the defense in this case both agree the judge should vacate her guilty verdict in light of the Arpaio pardon,” Goldman continued.
“There is no way Judge Bolton could do anything but dismiss this case as soon as Trump issued the pardon, but instead, she allowed Sheriff Arpaio to twist in the wind for six weeks as she allowed amicus briefs to be filed contesting the constitutionality of the pardon,” Goldman continued.
Goldman pointed out that if Judge Bolton refused to vacate Arpaio’s conviction, Arpaio would have no remedy, except to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, to expunge the guilty verdict from his record.
“Usually a criminal defendant can seek to vacate a criminal conviction by appealing the case after sentencing, but in this case, the Trump pardon eliminated Arpaio’s need to appeal the case,” Goldman stressed.
“If Judge Bolton refuses to vacate Arpaio’s guilty verdict, we will file a motion for mandamus with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the appeals court to instruct Judge Bolton to vacate the verdict,” he continued. “If the Ninth Circuit refuses, we will file the motion for mandamus with the U.S. Supreme Court.”
He argued that if a person is convicted and sentenced for a crime, but dies before the appeal is final, the criminal case is vacated.
“This is a related case in that President Trump issued his pardon after Judge Bolton ruled from the bench that Sheriff Arpaio was guilty of a criminal misdemeanor, but before Judge Bolton sentenced Sheriff Arpaio for the crime,” Goldman pointed out.
“Because no sentence was ever issued, Judge Bolton’s criminal conviction was never completed,” he added, arguing that without Arpaio being sentenced, there really is no conviction that can remain on the books.
“The Sheriff has no ability to vindicate himself through the appeal process because he was never sentenced, so Judge Bolton has no choice but to vacate the conviction,” he argued. “The case law is clear on this point and that’s why the Department of Justice agreed with us.”