Trump pardons former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio – Washington Post

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President Trump has pardoned the controversial former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of failing to follow a court order to end the practice of detaining people merely on the suspicion they might not have legal status.

In a statement, Trump made no mention of Arpaio’s conviction, but praised his past military service. It is the first pardon of Trump’s presidency.

President Trump spoke about possibly pardoning former Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff Joe Arpaio during a rally in Phoenix on Aug. 22. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in July. (The Washington Post)

“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 said. “Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon,” the statement continued.

Arpaio’s practices have been characterized as racial discrimination. He was awaiting sentencing at a hearing in October.

Trump’s pardon came late on a Friday night, at a time when much of the country is focused on a Category 4 hurricane bearing down on Texas. Hurricane Harvey is the most powerful such storm to hit the nation in 12 years.

Joe Arpaio’s illegal-immigration crackdown made him a polarizing figure and an early ally of President Trump. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

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