President Donald Trump suggested he will grant Joe Arpaio, the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, a pardon for criminal contempt.
During a campaign-style rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, Trump signaled a pardon could come soon.
“I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine, OK?” Trump said. “But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had initially told reporters earlier Tuesday there would be “no discussion of that today at any point.”
Fox News reported on Aug. 14 that the president was “seriously considering” pardoning Arpaio, a strong Trump supporter who was convicted of criminal contempt for violating a 2011 court order in a racial profiling case. Arpaio has been scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5 and faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine, according to Reuters.
In 2013, a federal judge ordered Arpaio to halt his department’s practice of routinely stopping Latino drivers because they might be undocumented immigrants, ruling it amounted to racial profiling. Arpaio had his officers conducting what he called “saturation patrols” in an attempt to find people who had entered the country illegally.
Arpaio, 85, later publicly acknowledged he violated that judge’s order but argued that his action were “not intentional.”
While speaking with Fox News, Trump called Arpaio “a great American patriot.”
“I hate to see what has happened to him,” Trump said.
After Trump broached the prospect of a pardon, the American Civil Liberties Union bluntly…
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