Former Ariz. sheriff, pardoned by Trump, insists conviction was political

After Hinting At It During Phoenix Rally, Trump Issues Pardon For Arpaio

President Donald Trump is under fire for pardoning the former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday.

Joe Arpaio has been known as "America's toughest sheriff", but he's actually a sociopathic nutball.

Merrill Chertoff, head of the Aspen Institute, wrote at the time that Trump's pardoning of Arpaio would constitute an abuse of federal clemency power.

White House lawyers have reportedly told Trump that a pardon may prove unnecessary, as they believe the court order that Arpaio ignored was unconstitutional, sources involved in the process told CBS News.

Self-styled as "America's toughest sheriff", he was accused of detaining people exclusively on the suspicion that they might be illegal immigrants. I think he is just going to be fine.

Pending his scheduled sentencing hearing October 5, Arpaio faced a maximum of up to six months in prison.

"Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration", a White House statement said on Friday in announcing Arpaio's pardon, the first of Trump's administration.

The president tweeted Friday night, writing, "I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio".

Despite Trump's praise, critics have said Arpaio's persecution of illegal immigration promoted racial profiling. "Instead of a dog whistle, President Trump picked up a bull horn and let out a hateful shout tonight when he pardoned someone who personifies the same bigotry and intolerance we witnessed in Charlottesville", Gupta said in a statement.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) called President Donald Trump's proposed border wall "a bit, you know, out there", on Thursday, the latest rebuke from Arizona's junior senator of a President who has targeted him with sharp attacks.

Mr Trump said: "Arpaio's life and career, which began at the age of 18 when he enlisted in the military after the outbreak of the Korean War, exemplify selfless public service". Trump asked supporters. "I'll make a prediction".

His controversial tenure as sheriff brought Arpaio national headlines for massive roundups of suspected undocumented migrants and for the way he ran the Maricopa County jail.

"So Sheriff Joe was convicted for doing his job?"

He operated an outdoor "tent city" in which inmates lived in tents, including during periods in the extreme Arizona summer heat. However, civil rights groups have pushed back against the possibility of Arpaio's pardon. "Joe Arpaio intentionally terrorized immigrant communities across Arizona for decades and traumatized an entire generation of Arizonans", said Alejandra Gomez, co-executive director of Living United for Change in Arizona.

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