President Trump told Fox News he is “seriously considering” issuing a pardon for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people because he suspected them of being illegal immigrants.
Trump told the news outlet during a conversation in Bedminster, N.J., that the pardon could come quickly, perhaps in a matter of days. The news outlet reported the conversation on its website Monday.
“I might do it right away, maybe early this week. I am seriously thinking about it,” Trump said, according to Fox News. He said Arpaio was a “great American patriot” who had “done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration.”
“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump said, according to Fox News. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt last month by a federal judge in Arizona. He faces up to six months in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 5, the Washington Post reports.
The Arizona Republic reports that Arpaio’s attorney submitted two motions to the court Monday, asking the judge to grant him a new trial or reconsider a verdict that found him guilty of criminal contempt of court.
The motions come two weeks after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that Arpaio had deliberately violated a judge’s orders amid a racial-profiling case. Arpaio’s attorneys said at the time they would appeal the verdict.