President Trump granted a pardon to Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., on Friday.
Arpaio, 85, was recently found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols that allegedly targeted immigrants.
He had been charged with misdemeanor contempt of court for allegedly willfully defying a judge’s order in 2011 and prolonging his patrols for another 17 months.
Arpaio acknowledged extending the patrols, but insisted it wasn’t intentional, blaming one of his former attorneys for not properly explaining the importance of the court order and brushing off the conviction as a “petty crime.”
He was expected to be sentenced on Oct. 5 and faced up to six months in jail if convicted.
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon,” the White House said in a statement.
“I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio,” the president tweeted on Friday night. “He kept Arizona safe!”