WASHINGTON– President Donald Trump could offer a pardon to controversial former Sheriff Joe Arpaio during a rally in Phoenix, Arizona tonight.
Arpaio, a well known hardliner on illegal immigration in the state’s Maricopa County, was found guilty of criminal contempt late last month for defying court orders to halt police practices that have been deemed racial profiling.
He faces six months in prison.
Trump told Fox News last week that he was considering pardoning Arpaio, stating that he was a “great American patriot” and applauding his steps to counter illegal immigration.
Arpaio, who endorsed Trump for President early last year, has told NBC News that he is unaware if Trump will follow through.
Intervening in such a racially charged case will likely spark controversy, particularly in light of the President’s widely disaparged response to this month’s rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a Democrat, has urged Trump to cancel the rally all-together and told CBS News that a pardon would be tantamount to pouring gasoline on a flame.