Outgoing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to hold one last press conference on Thursday, promising new ‘revelations’ from his as-yet fruitless investigation into President Obama’s birth certificate.
Arpaio and Chief Investigator Mike Zullo “will be presenting their newest revelations to the years long investigation of the birth certificate presented by the White House in 2011 of President Obama,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement announcing the press conference.
The conference, Arpaio’s first on the issue since 2012, comes in the controversial sheriff’s final days in office. Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term to Democrat Paul Penzone last month.
Throughout his time in office, Arpaio has been one of the most high-profile members of the so-called “birther” movement, a conspiracy theory suggesting that Obama is not a natural-born American citizen and therefore has never had a legitimate claim to the office.
In 2012, Arpaio dispatched a crew of volunteers, led by Zullo, to Hawaii to investigate the issue. “We feel that that document is a forgery,” Arpaio said at the time, according to the Arizona Republic. “We’re trying to figure out who did it. That’s good police work.”
According to Arizona’s 12News, Arpaio admitted in the 2014 documentary “The Joe Show” that the birther crusade against Obama had been a boon to his own political career.
“You see the polls go (up). You’ll get more money than you know what to do with,” he said.
Another previously vocal proponent of the movement, President-elect Donald Trump, recently admitted that there is no truth to the allegations that Obama was not born in the U.S. “President Obama was born in the United States. Period,” the then-candidate told reporters after receiving much criticism during the campaign over his refusal to disavow his previous statements.
Back in October, Arpaio was charged with criminal contempt of court when he refused to obey a federal judge’s order to stop enforcing his civil immigration laws. The charges stem from a larger racial profiling case in which plaintiffs accused the sheriff’s office of violating the civil rights of Latino immigrants.
Arpaio’s office had been conducting so-called “saturation patrols,” during which officers detained people while they ran immigration status checks. In 2013, a federal judge ruled that the policy, which saw more than 50,000 people caught in the roundups, amounted to illegal racial profiling.
As reported by the the Arizona Republic, Arpaio has previously used publicity stunts to distract from the controversies surrounding his office. Ahead of a hearing for the contempt case in 2015, Arpaio brought Pamela Anderson to a Maricopa County jail to promote the meatless meals being served to inmates there as a “healthy” alternative and cost-saving measure.