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Dec 24, 4:01 AM EST

Arpaio opposes reopening case's discovery phase


PHOENIX (AP) -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's lawyers asked a judge in a civil rights case to reject a request to reopen the case's fact-gathering phase to explore misconduct allegations against some sheriff's deputies.

The U.S. Justice Department told the judge that the investigation into whether officers inappropriately took items off people during immigration enforcement efforts is relevant to the government's lawsuit against Arpaio.

But Arpaio's lawyers say the Justice Department declined an earlier offer to extend the fact-gathering phase.

The Justice Department alleges Arpaio's office has racially profiled people, retaliated against its critics and punished Latino jail inmates with limited English skills for speaking Spanish.

Arpaio denies the claims.

In May 2013, a judge in a separate case concluded that Arpaio's officers had racially profiled Latinos.

Arpaio is appealing that ruling.

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