Friday, Aug. 25, 2017

Trump grants presidential pardon to Arpaio

President Donald Trump has pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the White House announced late Friday afternoon.

Arpaio is a fervent Trump fan who was convicted of criminal contempt of court in July for violating a federal judge’s order to stop targeting Latinos in traffic stops.

Trump did not announce the presidential pardon during his rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, as many expected, but he did say “I’ll make a prediction – I think he’s going to be just fine, OK. But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy.”

Arpaio was simply doing his job in fighting illegal immigration, the president said at the rally.

Friday’s statement from the White House touted Arpaio’s lengthy law enforcement career and cited his “life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.”

The release ended with the statement “he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”

Arpaio and his supporters have long denounced the contempt of court charge as politically motivated.

Immigration activists and Democratic leaders had previously criticized the possibility of a Presidential pardon.

“It would absolutely be a miscarriage of justice,” said Laila Ikram of the Council on American and Islamic Relations.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, said Tuesday before the rally that if Trump pardoned Arpaio, it would “deepen the divisions that are already deep enough in the country.”

Arpaio was scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5.