Heading for Arpaio attorney's motion to withdraw as counsel

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Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (left) and attorney A. Melvin McDonald (3TV/CBS 5) Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (left) and attorney A. Melvin McDonald (3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (AP) -

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing Thursday afternoon on a top attorney's motion to withdraw from former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's upcoming criminal contempt-of-court trial.

Mel McDonald leads the legal team for Arpaio, who's set to stand trial April 25 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

[RELATED: Joe Arpaio's longtime lawyer backs out of case 3 weeks before trial]

McDonald's motion Monday said "professional considerations require termination of the representation" and "good cause exists because withdrawal is mandatory" pursuant to an ethical rule.

Arpaio was charged with contempt for ignoring a court order in a racial profiling case to stop his immigration patrols. He has acknowledged prolonging his patrols, but says his defiance wasn't intentional.

If convicted, Arpaio faces up to six months in jail.

The 84-year-old Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term as sheriff last November.

[READ MORE: Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio loses bid to delay his criminal trial]

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