Gregg Jarrett, Fox News, August 14, 2017
President Trump may soon issue a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the colorful former Arizona sheriff who was found guilty two weeks ago of criminal contempt for defying a state judge’s order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected undocumented immigrants. In his final years as Maricopa County sheriff, Arpaio had emerged as a leading opponent of illegal immigration.
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” the president said Sunday, during a conversation with Fox News at his club in Bedminster, N.J. “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.”
Trump said the pardon could happen in the next few days, should he decide to do so.
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.
Reached Monday for reaction to the possible pardon, Arpaio expressed surprise that Trump was aware of his legal predicament.
“I am happy he understands the case,” he told Fox News. “I would accept the pardon because I am 100 percent not guilty.”
The former sheriff said he will continue to be a strong supporter of the president regardless of whether he receives a pardon.
Trump has not granted any pardons so far in his presidency.