President Trump told Fox News he is “seriously considering” pardoning former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty in late July of criminal contempt for willfully violating a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling.
Arpaio, known as “Sheriff Joe,” was found to have disobeyed a 2011 court order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow that required the 85-year-old to stop racially profiling Latinos as part of signature immigration round-ups. He set to be sentenced in October for the misdemeanor, and faces up to six months in confinement, according to The Arizona Republic.
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” Trump told Fox News at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, where he had been staying during a 17-day working vacation.
“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.”
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s July ruling comes after a five-day June and July trial, in which Department of Justice prosecutors argued that Arpaio had willfully ignored the order. Arpaio’s argued that the court order was unclear and that, although mistakes had been made, the violations were unintended.
“The evidence at trial proves beyond a reasonable doubt and the Court finds that Judge (G. Murray) Snow issued a clear and definite order enjoining Defendant from detaining persons for further investigation without reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed; that Defendant knew of the order; and that Defendant willfully violated the order by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed,” Bolton wrote in the ruling. “Because the Court finds that Defendant willfully violated an order of the court, it finds Defendant guilty of criminal contempt.”
The Hill adds: “Arpaio, a vocal supporter of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, lost his bid for reelection in 2016 to Democrat Paul Penzone. The loss ended a 24-year career in the post that saw him rise to national prominence due to his hardline stance on illegal immigration.”