A litigator, crime novelist and former law clerk to the federal judge overseeing former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's racial profiling trial in 2012 unleashed an unusual flurry of revealing tweets Tuesday about the trial, Arpaio's tactics, and how he believes Judge G. Murray Snow has been unfairly trashed by the former Arizona sheriff.
"I was the judicial clerk for the judge in the original Apraio trial. I have some thoughts on the pardon," Andrew Case tweeted Tuesday afternoon, beginning a 15-part thread that described Snow's conservative judicial philosophy, how Snow "took pains to ensure that the trial was procedurally fair," and citing a news article which details how Arpaio "sent investigators after the judge's wife and constantly insults him publicly."
Case continued his defense of Snow in an op-ed published in The Washington Post Wednesday morning, saying the judge was a conservative.
Case, who clerked for Snow from fall 2011 to fall 2012 and attended Arpaio's trial in person, said in a phone interview with CNN on Tuesday that he was surprised the tweets elicited so much attention, but felt compelled to defend his former boss against attacks that he was somehow biased in concluding that Arpaio wrongfully detained Latinos suspected of being in the U.S. without authorization.
"(Snow) was very precise -- he wasn't focused on the noise of racially charged emails, he wanted to find out what the policies were of the department," Case said.
Case recalled the large ceremonial courtroom that was used the day Arpaio took the stand, and said people in the surrounding community were interested in following the case but were also somewhat numb to the allegations.
"People knew it was a very important case, but at the same time, Arpaio had been sued so many times before," Case said. "What made it explode was the stuff that happened after when he sent deputies to stalk the judge's wife."
Arpaio admitted to hiring a private agent to investigate Snow's wife, according to news reports at the time, after he received a tip that someone overheard her discussing the judge's negative view of Arpaio.
Arpaio's lawyers have levied claims of judicial bias for some time against Snow, even before President Donald Trump pardoned the former Maricopa County Sheriff last week, but Case explained that he hoped to convey in his tweets that the judge is a "deeply fair and honest guy."
"Judge Snow has never responded to these personal attacks -- he is far too dignified to do so," Case tweeted. "So when you hear Arpaio and Trump on the judge, remember he is a classic Republican judge and a deeply honorable man."
Judicial law clerks are notoriously tight-lipped about cases and conversations with their judges, and Case made a point to say he wouldn't reveal any confidential information or substantive discussions with Snow. He said the two have kept in touch periodically over the years, but he didn't tell Snow about the tweets before he posted them on Tuesday.
"I just sent him an email to let him know," Case said.
Snow's chambers declined to comment on the tweets.
In the Post op-ed, Case said Snow's conservative credentials went beyond the fact he was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.
"He had a desk blotter from the Romney Institute. He spoke favorably of Justice Antonin Scalia's jurisprudence. While we had little opportunity to talk electoral politics, I would guess he was no fan of President Barack Obama," Case wrote.
When asked whether he simply had an ax to grind against Trump over Arpaio's pardon, Case said that he wasn't surprised or fazed by the pardon -- he half-joked to a friend after Arpaio was found guilty of violating Snow's order in July that the president would pardon Arpaio and then name him secretary of Homeland Security.
"(Trump) has the right to pardon whomever he wants," Case said. "I just wanted people to know Snow is a fair and honest broker."