Front Page Confidential co-founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin stepped into the spotlight this November when they protested President Trump’s pardon of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio, who gave an order to arrest Larkin and Lacey for the crime of disclosing grand jury investigation info ten years ago, was on the losing end of the federal civil rights lawsuit Melendres vs. Arpaio but was pardoned by Donald Trump.
Arpaio had previously come under fire for a variety of immoral practices as sheriff, most notably the death of various detainees who were held in jail cells that he was in charge of.
In response to the Presidential pardon after Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt, Mr. Larkin and Mr. Lacey have accused President Trump of pardoning Arpaio to pander to white nationalists who love Arpaio for his anti-Mexican political stance.
The duo have been in conflict with Sheriff Arpaio since he jailed them in 2007. They were jailed for disclosing information from a grand jury investigation using their newspaper, the Phoenix New Times.
The grand jury investigation in question, however, was an investigation into the practices of Mr. Larkin and Mr. Lacey themselves, and the pair claim that it was part of a long-term set up by the Sheriff. Arpaio, they say, began the investigation into them so that they’d write about it and he could arrest them–in other words, it was a complete setup. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://about.me/michael-lacey and http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427427/Jim_Larkin
Arpaio would certainly have had a motive for his vendetta against them. Lark and Lacey’s New Times had consistently exposed the Maricopa Sheriff Department’s offensive and immoral actions, and sending them to prison would clearly help to take some of the heat off of Arpaio.
Mr. Lacey says that when President Trump was sworn into office, Arpaio “rode his coattails” knowing that many of his supporters were also supporters of Trump.
They believe that the President pardoned a man he knows committed wrongful actions as sheriff to bolster his own political stance and please his constituents, and it would certainly appear that Lacey and Larkin raise a compelling point.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are longtime supporters of Latino rights in their state of Arizona, first met at Arizona State University. In 1970, both of them dropped out to found the Phoeinix New Times with Jim Larkin taking care of advertising and Lacey acting as executive editor.
The paper was created to fight against the hyper-conservative local media’s coverage of antiwar protests on the ASU campus, but it soon began to cover a wide array of social and political issues from a liberal-minded point of view.
The paper soon expanded, and is now part of a large conglomerate of like-minded papers such as the Village Voice and the L.A. Weekly.
Larkin and Lacey were jailed by Sheriff Arapaio in 2007, but they were released after 24 hours due to widespread outrage, and a later investigation showed that the grand jury warrants were issued illegally by a prosecutor who was working with Arapaio. In 2013, Maricopa County paid the duo 3.75 million dollars to settle a wrongful arrest lawsuit that they brought against the county.
Soon after, their company became known as Village Voice Media Holdings, and although it was sold in 2012, they continue to be politically active, largely through their publication Front Page Confidential.
Both Mr. Larkin and Mr. Lacey have since been awarded multiple journalistic honors, including a Pulitzer Prize.