Convicted Ex-Sheriff Arpaio Expresses Optimism Over Possible Trump Pardon

Dan Callister/REX/FEREX

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio expressed some optimism Wednesday that President Donald Trump would pardon him following a July conviction of criminal contempt of court.

“I have a great deal of respect for him,” Arpaio told Fox Business’ Neil Cavuto in an interview. “I always will have, pardon or no pardon. I’m with him to the end. As long as he’s the President, I will support him.”

Arpaio said he took Trump’s shout-out at a Phoenix rally on Tuesday as a good sign, given the White House had said earlier in the day that Trump would not pardon the former sheriff at the event.

“They put a press thing out that there would be no mention of this at the rally,” Arpaio said. “But knowing the President, he has guts and courage, and my gut told me he was going to do it. Of course, everybody said no, but I know the man.”

In a separate interview with the popular conspiracy theorist Alex Jones Wednesday, Arpaio said he planned to eventually speak out further about what he viewed as the federal government’s overreach in his case.

“You started this by saying an abuse of the system — abuse of the political system, I can go on and on — and I’ll be talking about that, about this whole situation, in the near future, Alex,” Arpaio said.

Apraio, who lost a re-election bid in November after 24 years as Maricopa County sheriff, was found guilty in July of disobeying a court order to cease his practice of racially profiling suspected undocumented immigrants.

Arpaio was an early and prominent supporter of Trump during the 2016 presidential election, and Trump dropped his strongest hint yet on Tuesday that he was leaning toward pardoning the former sheriff. “I think he’s going to be just fine, okay?” he said at a campaign rally in Phoenix. “But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. But Sheriff Joe should feel good.”

Arpaio thanked Jones multiple times for bringing his story to Trump’s attention. On Aug. 2, Jones’ channel published a video titled “Pres. Trump, Pardon Sheriff Joe: ‘Guilty’ Of Defying Sanctuary Judge.” On Aug. 7, Arpaio said in an interview with Jones’ website InfoWars.com: “Where is President Trump on this case?”

“I want to thank you, Alex, and your staff, Jerry Corsi, Roger Stone, for bringing this story out and reaching the President,” he said at one point Wednesday.

“I want to thank you, again,” he added later. “I don’t blame the President, he’s got a lot on his plate, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t know about this.”

“No, no. I’ve talked to folks that talked to him,” Jones replied. “He did not know, and didn’t believe it when he was told a month ago.”

Arpaio said he had found out about the potential of a presidential pardon by watching Jones, and that he had not been in touch with Trump or his staff.

“He’ll know more as time goes on what the real story is on this situation,” Arpaio said. “I’m not going to keep quiet.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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