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Trump Says Arpaio Will Be 'Just Fine,' Hints Again At Pardon

Donald Trump
Jimmy Jenkins/KJZZ
President Donald Trump speaks at the Phoenix Convention Center during a campaign-style rally in July 2017.

After recently hinting at a potential pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, President Donald Trump held off on wielding his executive power at a campaign rally Tuesday in Phoenix.

Earlier on Tuesday the White House press cecretary seemed to indicate a pardon was off the table. But former Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he suspected otherwise.

“Everybody said he would not mention me at the rally and my gut and my heart told me, yeah, he probably will.”

Trump praised the former sheriff earlier this month for his tough stance on immigration and told Fox News he was considering a pardon.

Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court for willfully violating a federal judge’s order to stop enforcing federal immigration law.

During the rally, Trump said Arpaio should have had a jury trial and told the crowd the former sheriff would be "just fine," once again dancing around the possibility of a pardon.

RELATED: Experts Say A Presidential Pardon For Joe Arpaio Would Be Rare

“But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. Is that OK?” said Trump.

Trump implied that Arpaio was convicted for doing his job and pledged to continue focusing on illegal immigration.

According to reports Wednesday, the White House is preparing paperwork if and when President Trump decides to follow through with the pardon.

Arpaio is facing up to six months in jail. His sentencing is set for October.

His attorneys are pursuing challenges to his criminal misdemeanor conviction.

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Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.