U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday granted a pardon to former Arizona lawman and political ally Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America,” less than a month after he was convicted of criminal contempt in a case involving his department’s racial profiling policy.
Trump had signaled this week that the first presidential pardon of his administration would go to Arpaio, 85, whom he has frequently praised for his hardline immigration stance.
“Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” said the White House statement announcing Arpaio’s pardon.
Arpaio, who lost a bid for re-election in Arizona’s Maricopa County in November after 24 years in office, was known for his crackdown on undocumented immigrants and investigating unfounded Trump-supported claims questioning former President Barack Obama’s citizenship.
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