President Donald Trump has officially announced he will issue a pardon to former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio after he was convicted by a federal judge for criminal contempt of court in July.
I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2017
BREAKING: President Donald Trump grants a presidential pardon to former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio pic.twitter.com/LFKAzRNS7O— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 26, 2017
"Today, President Donald J. Trump granted a Presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. 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. After serving in the Army, Arpaio became a police officer in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas, NV and later served as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), formerly the Bureau of Narcotics. After 25 years of admirable service, Arpaio went on to lead the DEA’s branch in Arizona," the White House released Friday. "In 1992, the problems facing his community pulled Arpaio out of retirement to return to law enforcement. He ran and won a campaign to become Sheriff of Maricopa County. 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."
"Given Sherriff Arpaio’s extraordinary life of public service, including in the military, the President didn’t believe that subjecting a man to a conviction and potential prison term for enforcing federal immigration law was appropriate," the statement continued. "The President did not make this decision lightly. He considered all the circumstances surrounding this case, including the fact that Sherriff Arpaio is 85 years old and had served in the military, the DEA and as a sheriff for five decades."
Arpaio served as Sheriff for Arizona's Maricopa County from 1993 to 2016 and was regularly re-elected with heavily majorities until his departure last year. He is known for his tough stance on illegal immigration and infamously made inmates wear pink underwear during his tenure.
During the 2016 presidential election, Arpaio endorsed then candidate Donald Trump for his stance on illegal immigration. Before the election, Arpaio and Trump worked together in pursuit of President Obama's birth certificate.
This post has been updated with additional information.