LAS VEGAS - President Donald Trump pardons Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, according to the White House. Arpaio's the controversial former Maricopa County official.
Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!— Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) August 26, 2017
Arpaio was convicted for intentionally disobeying a judge's order in an immigration case.
Trump had said eight days ago that he was considering a pardon of Arpaio's misdemeanor contempt of court conviction for intentionally defying a judge's order to stop his traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.
Longtime critics of the retired sheriff say a pardon would remove the last chance at holding Arpaio legally accountable for a long history of misconduct during his 24 years as metro Phoenix's top law enforcer. They cited a racial profiling verdict against the sheriff's office, allegations that Arpaio retaliated against his political foes and other alleged misconduct.
Arpaio's violation of the 2011 court order is believed to have contributed to his 2016 loss to little-known retired Phoenix police Sgt. Paul Penzone.
Arpaio was scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5. The 85-year-old would have faced up to six months in jail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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