In a story by the Associated Press, Birther activist and attorney Larry Klayman’s is threatening to sue a group that is behind an effort to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Klaman’s group, Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results, claims that the recall effort is “unconstitutional” and will hinder Arpaio’s ability to effectively serve the state, but the challenge is being criticized for its legal validity.
“We need people like Sheriff Joe not to be intimidated by vigilantes,” Klayman said at a press conference on Thursday. He attacked the recall campaign as “harassment of the sheriff, such that he can no longer do his job on behalf of the people.”
Klayman is a well-known conspiracy theorist and member of the Birther movement. He represented the conspiracy website World Net Daily in a lawsuit against Esquire magazine over a piece satirizing WND. The case was ultimately thrown out of court.
According to reporter Brahm Resnik of the Arizona Nightly News, Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results (which is made up largely of Tea Party members, many of whom dabble in Birtherism) may find themselves unable to hold their case up in a court of law.
Klayman’s suit argues that under Arizona election law, petitions calling for the recall of an official cannot be circulated until six months after the official has been elected. Pointing to Arpaio’s re-election in November, Klayman said Respect Arizona is breaking the law.
However, Resnik pointed out that the term clock does not reset with each election.
“If Klayman had consulted the Secretary of State’s election handbook,” Resnik said, “he would have seen the second sentence of the state law in big bold letters: ‘The commencement of a subsequent term in the same office does not renew the six month period delaying the circulation of petitions.’”
Arpaio is currently serving his sixth term as sheriff of Maricopa County, which means the protections against recall petitions do not apply to him.
The recall group, Respect Arizona, says that Arpaio is in violation of Federal law and that his department prioritizes immigration enforcement while neglecting other duties. They note the failure by the Sheriff’s office to investigate more than 400 sex crimes, claiming that it’s evidence that Arpaio is unfit to hold his office.
Watch the story via Arizona Nightly News in the video below.