On Monday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton found former Maricopa County, AZ, Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt of court, finding that he willfully violated a federal judge's order.
Bolton’s ruling follows a five-day June and July trial, in which Department of Justice prosecutors argued that the 85-year-old had intentionally flouted a federal judge's orders halting Arpaio’s signature immigration round-ups.
The verdict is a rejection of Arpaio’s defense: That the order was unclear and that, although mistakes had been made, the violations were unintended. Willful intent is required to prove criminal, rather than civil contempt.
The sentencing phase will begin Oct. 5. Arpaio faces up to six months in confinement, a sentence equivalent to that of a misdemeanor.
Arpaio issued a statement Monday saying he will appeal the ruling and will continue to press for a jury trial, AZCentral.com reports.