President Donald Trump is reported to be “seriously considering” pardoning former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently found guilty of criminal contempt after refusing to follow a judge's order to stop profiling suspected illegal immigrant drivers.
Trump apparently told Fox News's Greg Jarrett that the pardon could happen in a matter of days:
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio. [...] He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He's a great American patriot, and I hate to see what has happened to him.”
Fox News has more details on the charges against Arpaio:
Arpaio, 85, was convicted by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton of misdemeanor contempt of court for willfully disregarding an Arizona judge's order in 2011 to stop the anti-immigrant traffic patrols. Arpaio had maintained the law enforcement patrols for 17 months thereafter.
The man who built a controversial national reputation as “America's toughest sheriff” admitted he prolonged his patrols, but insisted he did not intend to break the law because one of his former attorneys did not explain to him the full measure of restrictions contained in the court order.
He is expected to be sentenced on Oct. 5 and could face up to six months in jail. However, since he is 85 years old and has no prior convictions, some attorneys doubt he will receive any jail time.
Arpaio was an early supporter of Trump, as both men aligned on the issue of illegal immigration. Trump's critics were already losing it over the report, claiming it shows Trump sides with “racists”:
If Trump follows through, it would be his first presidential pardon — and a very controversial one.