HINTS AT POSSIBILITY OF PARDON FOR CRIMINAL CONVICTION
by Sharon Rondeau
Arpaio was prosecuted for criminal contempt of court by the U.S. Justice Department as a result of a civil case which ran for almost nine years.
In May 2016, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow found Arpaio guilty of civil contempt of court for disobeying his December 23, 2011 order to stop patrols aimed at apprehending illegal aliens in Maricopa County.
Despite the presentation of credible evidence of bias on Snow’s part during the civil-contempt hearings, Snow refused to recuse himself during the 2015 hearings. He also chose to take the accusation to court instead of accepting Arpaio’s offer to pay the plaintiffs restitution from his personal funds.
After declaring Arpaio in civil contempt last year, Snow referred the case for possible criminal prosecution to the U.S. attorney for Arizona, who claimed a conflict of interest. The case then went to the Justice Department, government prosecutors announced just days before early voting began last October that they would prosecute Arpaio, who was seeking a seventh term as Maricopa County sheriff.
During his 24 years as sheriff, Arpaio had earned a reputation for stringent enforcement of federal immigration law and the apprehension of drug dealers and other criminals.
Trump’s audience resoundingly agreed that Arpaio was treated harshly in exchange for his stance on immigration.
Once their chorus of responses was heard, Trump said of Arpaio, “I think he’s gonna be just fine” in an apparent reference to Trump’s statement last week that he was “seriously considering” issuing a presidential pardon to Arpaio.
Trump indicated that he would not issue the pardon during the rally but commented that he was aware that Arpaio did not receive a trial by jury as his attorneys had requested.
He referred to a small number of protesters outside of the Phoenix Convention Center, contradicting predictions of thousands of vocal opponents.
Dr. Jerome Corsi of Infowars has reported on several occasions that Arpaio’s case was not brought to Trump’s attention by his aides, despite assiduous efforts to reach him as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions prior to the commencing of the trial on June 26.
Earlier on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Air Force One that Trump would not issue the pardon to Arpaio during the rally, which Arpaio reportedly was not invited to attend.
For more than an hour, Trump excoriated the major media, his detractors, the left-wing socialist group Antifa, Congress, illegal immigration, and the criticism he received following a demonstration which turned deadly on August 19 in Charlottesville, VA.
He spoke about veterans’ affairs, the removal of Confederate war monuments and memorials, and his approval of increases in military spending.
Just after 11:00 p.m. EDT/8:00 p.m. PDT, without mentioning any names, Trump referred to the “single vote” which prevented a vote for a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare to take place on the Senate floor cast by Sen. John McCain.
Trump referred to “the other senator” as one who is “weak on borders,” referring to Sen. Jeff Flake.
He did not mention Dr. Kelli Ward, a former Arizona state senator, who is challenging Flake in the Republican primary next year.
At 11:09 p.m., Trump called to the podium three Arizona congressmen who have been supportive of his agenda: Paul Gosar, Trent Franks, and Andy Biggs. “Never let them go, folks,” Trump said to the audience.
Trump praised his administration’s loosening of regulations which has prompted the reopening of coal mines and put miners back to work. He also touted tax reform but qualified it with, “We need the help of Congress.”
This story was updated at 8:23 a.m. EDT on August 23, 2017.