Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) — Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio could face criminal contempt charges over his immigration patrols, according to the Department of Justice.
In a statement to ABC News, the DOJ said it intended to “proceed to trial” against the sheriff, with prosecutors from the department’s Public Integrity Section announcing the decision at a status hearing in Arizona federal district court on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow told Arpaio to stop the immigration patrols, and in August referred the sheriff and other individuals to another court to determine if they should be held in criminal contempt after disobeying orders.
The DOJ said it would “not be proceeding against the other individuals” due to “procedural defects.”
A preliminary trial date is set for Dec. 6, 2016, according to the DOJ.
Arpaio has faced backlash from critics who have called his controversial immigration patrols racist. The sheriff is also a Donald Trump supporter who has spoken at campaign events for the Republican presidential candidate.
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.