President Trump told Fox News that he is "seriously considering a pardon" for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt in July after violating a 2011 federal order that demanded the Maricopa County, Arizona, lawman stop racially profiling Latinos in immigration "roundups".
"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 vacation.
Trump told the network that Arpaio has done a lot in the battle against illegal immigration and is admired by many Americans.
Background on the contempt charge pending against Arpaio: As sheriff, his deputies would stop drivers to check their legal status; in 2011 a federal judge ordered him and his force to stop doing that for fear that Latinos, including USA citizens and legal residents, were being racially profiled.
Arpaio, 85, is expected to be sentenced in October, and while he could theoretically face up to six months in jail, "some attorneys doubt he will receive any jail time", Fox News reports.More news: Arsenal Win a Wild One on Opening Day
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Arpaio is one of many racist criminals who have supported the president, like James Alex Fields Jr. Trump could wait, in other words, and see how all of this shakes out in case a pardon isn't needed to spare him any jail time. The former sheriff has also gained infamy for what were widely viewed as inhumane detention practices.
Amnesty International condemned his practice of making inmates sleep in outside tents, where temperatures during the summer regularly reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. "He doesn't deserve to be treated this way".
Trump spoke about the possibility of pardoning Arpaio on Sunday. President George W. Bush didn't issue a pardon until December 2002, and President Barack Obama granted his first pardons in December 2010.
"Joe Arpaio is in this for the long haul, and he will continue his fight to vindicate himself, to prove his innocence, and to protect the public", Wilenchik said. A Justice Department spokeswoman said she was not aware of the president's remarks but would wait until action was taken before commenting.