Trump pardons Joe Arpaio; ex-sheriff thanks president over Twitter

FILE--In this Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, is joined by Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio during a new conference at the Roundhouse Gymnasium in Marshalltown, Iowa. Arpaio has been convicted of a criminal charge Monday, July 31, 2017, for disobeying a court order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants in a conviction that marks a final rebuke for the former sheriff and politician who once drew strong popularity from such crackdowns but was booted from office amid voter frustrations over his deepening legal troubles.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file)

President Donald Trump gave a presidential pardon to Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday evening.

The 85-year-old former Maricopa County sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt after violating a judge’s order in an immigration case. It was a misdemeanor charge carrying a six-month jail sentence.

The White House press office praised Arpaio's years of public service, saying "he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon."

Arpaio thanked the president over Twitter saying the president recognized that his conviction was "a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!"

Donald Trump indicated he would pardon Arpaio during a rally in Phoenix earlier this week.

On the campaign trail, Trump often appeared next to the man who was branded as "America's Toughest Sheriff."

Read more about Joe Arpaio's career:

The sheriff defied a court order in 2011 that stopped immigration patrols considered racially motivated against people in Maricopa County.

The charges against Arpaio were related to a 2011 court order demanding the sheriff stop immigration patrols that were considered racially motivated. The original lawsuit against Arpaio alleged that he racially profiled Latinos in an attempt to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

Arpaio led the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for 24 years.

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