Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is not explicitly asking President Donald Trump to pardon him following the sheriff’s conviction for criminal contempt of court.
But he wouldn’t refuse a pardon, either.
Arpaio — the hardline former Arizona sheriff whose harsh enforcement of immigration law brought him national fame in conservative circles — endorsed Trump way back in January 2016. Trump said of “Sheriff Joe” at the time: “This is a man, when we talk about borders, this is a man that believes in borders.”
“I’m not going to ask him,” Arpaio told the Arizona Republic on Wednesday, referring to the possibility of a Presidential pardon. “I think, I believe he may not even know about this, which will become a different story in a couple days, with a bigger, much bigger picture than just me.”
“The reason I think a lot of this is being talked about is that many, many people around the country are saying, ‘Trump should pardon,'” Arpaio added. “I have not called him on this issue. I’m sure I could. … I’m with him, pardon no pardon, and not asking him. Although, as I said, many other people are asking him.”
Arpaio declined to confirm to the paper that he had spoken to Trump since the presidential inauguration.
In an interview Monday with the popular conspiracy website InfoWars, though, Arpaio was more direct: “Where is President Trump on this case?” he asked, adding: “I’m being convicted for honestly trying to enforce the immigration laws that Trump swore during the campaign he would uphold if elected president.”
Things seemed to go downhill for Arpaio after his endorsement of Trump.
In October, he was charged with criminal contempt of court for ignoring a judge’s order, years earlier, to cease racially tinged police patrols for undocumented immigrants.
In November, he lost a reelection bid — after serving as sheriff of the metro Phoenix area for more than two decades — to Democrat Paul Penzone.
And on July 31 of this year, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for having refused to stop the traffic patrols.
Arpaio’s attorney, Mark Goldman, did not immediately respond to TPM’s requests for comment. But he told InfoWars, referring to Arpaio’s guilty verdict: “The court, in its findings of fact and conclusions of law totally ignored all of the overwhelming evidence at trial that exonerated the Sheriff.”