Focus unclear in alleged sheriff probe

June 21, 2009 at 7:41 PM

PHOENIX, June 21 (UPI) -- There is no clear indication of where a federal investigation of a controversial Arizona sheriff is heading, The Arizona Republic reported Sunday.

The newspaper said its probe of why the FBI would investigate Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio or the operations of his office produced no single pattern or procedure.

The FBI told the newspaper it wouldn't confirm nor deny that an inquiry of Arpaio is ongoing. The sheriff, meanwhile, asserted the FBI has not contacted anyone from his office, saying he believes the idea that a probe is under way is a fiction promulgated by political opponents.

The Republic said several public officials and county employees told it in May the FBI had questions about alleged described as harassment and possible misuse of power by the sheriff's office, centering on a strained relationship between the sheriff and the county Board of Supervisors over a $340 million criminal courts tower project.

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