Trump makes final decision on Arpaio pardon

Trump makes final decision on Arpaio pardon
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was pardoned by President Trump Friday for his conviction of criminal contempt of court. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House announced Friday in a flurry of breaking news that the president had made his first pardon of his term. President Trump gave the reprieve to former Arizon Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial lawman who was accused of unfairly targeting Hispanics while hunting illegal aliens.

Arpaio had been convicted of criminal contempt of court for continuing raids that a judge had ordered to cease. The raids were made seeking illegal aliens, but Arpaio was accused of violating the rights of American citizens who were being allegedly profiled during the effort.

Arpaio admitted that he continued the raids despite the order for a year, but said that it had not been intentional, and blamed the attorney representing him at the time for “not properly explaining the importance of the court order.”

The former sheriff faced prison time for the conviction, but experts believed his advanced age would keep him from serving all of the sentence, which was to be determined October 5.

Rumors abounded that the president was going to announce the pardon of Arpaio during a recent rally in Phoenix, Arizona, but he demurred, saying only that he thought Arpaio “would be alright.”

Friday, the former sheriff thanked the president from his Twitter account:

Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was less enthusiastic in her response.

“[The president’s] pardon of fellow birther Arpaio makes mockery of rule of law, [and] says communities of color can be targeted [and] abused w/ total impunity,” she tweeted.

On Friday night, Donald Trump officially pardoned controversial former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a misdemeanor criminal contempt conviction. Arpaio, the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, was convicted of criminal contempt earlier in the summer for defying a judge's order that his deputies stop detaining immigrants because they lacked legal status. Last week, Trump, who previously hinted at granting the pardon, told Fox News he was "seriously considering" it and that Arpaio is a "a great American patriot" who has done "a lot in the fight against illegal immigration."

313 Comments