[Cross-posted at Hatewatch.]
Chris Simcox, the erstwhile border vigilante Minuteman movement leader, has been sitting in the Maricopa County Jail for over a year as he awaits trial on two counts of child molestation,
one involving his own preteen daughter. But, judging from a recent
court appearance, he is confident that he will win his freedom.
How? Apparently Simcox has some secret evidence.
According to a report from Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times,
Simcox indicated during a recent court hearing on a possible plea
agreement that there is previously unknown reasons for his arrest.
Documents filed by Simcox’s attorneys suggest he will attempt a
defense based on claims that he was targeted for prosecution because of
his high political profile, and that the charges against him are built
on evidence from two daughters who were subject to “parental alienation”
because of a “contentious divorce.”
However, Judge Joseph Welty of Maricopa County Superior Court
apparently was not buying. Saying that Simcox was suggesting “some grand
conspiracy at play,” he reminded Simcox, 53, that the evidence against
him also involved victims who were not his daughters, and that the
charges he faced were not political crimes.
The purpose of the hearing last week was to review the plea bargain that prosecutors had offered to Simcox
earlier this year that would limit his prison time to seven years in
exchange for a guilty plea. However, Simcox adamantly continued to
refuse the deal, saying he intended to prove his innocence in court.
Simcox’s refusal ensures that the two victims in the case—one of them
his now-teenage daughter, the second being a friend of hers who Simcox
was supposed to be babysitting at the time—will be required to testify
on the stand. The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 17, but Simcox’s
decision on the plea bargain probably means it will be pushed forward to
According to Lemons, a previous judge in the case ensured that
so-called “propensity evidence”—involving previous incidents that
suggest the defendant’s crime is part of a behavior pattern—would also
As the SPLC reported in 2005,
Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when
she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His
second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said,
Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife—the mother
of his current accuser—took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.
If convicted, Simcox could face up to life in prison.