Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks to FOX News' Sean Hannity shortly after the White House announced President Trump will pardon him. Arpaio, the former longtime sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County, was found guilty of criminal contempt in July.
Transcript, via FOX News:
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Also, major breaking news tonight. President Trump has in fact pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Remember, he was convicted last month of only criminal contempt. And weâ€™re going to keep showing Steve Harrigan, whoâ€™s on the ground in Texas tonight, Corpus Christi, in just a second. But this was moments ago, the video that youâ€™ll be seeing.
But on the phone joining us, I believe his first interview, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
First of all, Sheriff, I am relieved for you. You are 85 years old. You have dedicated your entire life to public service. You came under fire for obeying what are the laws of the land.
I applaud the president for what he did tonight. It was the right thing to do. And he telegraphed he was going to do it the other night. But hearing it tonight, how did it feel?
JOE ARPAIO, FORMER SHERIFF, MARICOPA COUNTY (via telephone): Well, itâ€™s great. I love that president. He supports law enforcement and Iâ€™m very humbled.
If you recall two years ago, I supported him. I said publicly, recently, pardon or no pardon, I will be with him until the end. And Iâ€™m going to do a news conference early next week and get to the bottom of this and show the abuse of the judicial system and politics. Iâ€™m not going down without trying to defend myself, to (ph) all those people that don't like what Iâ€™ve done.
HANNITY: Hey, Sheriff, itâ€™s got to be daunting. After all those years of public service, that here you are, you know, facing a potential year in jail. And, you know, Iâ€™ve known you for many, many years, sir.
I remember when you stood up and you said, wait a minute, these are the laws of the land. Iâ€™m a law enforcement officer. Iâ€™m sworn to uphold the laws of the land. Others that also swore to uphold the laws of the land are not doing it, but Iâ€™m going to do it anyway. Isn't that really the root of the troubles for you?
ARPAIO: Yes, after all these years, 55 years for law enforcement around the world, and here I am at a defense table, because they wanted to do everything to get rid of me and certain people. Iâ€™ll discuss that more next week.
It's my wife's birthday. I just left spaghetti and meatballs for you. So, 60 years of marriage and now birthday. Here, this is a good present for her too. Believe me.
HANNITY: I believe it. Well, listen, thatâ€™s certainly better than what you could have been facing. If you ended up in one of your own jails, youâ€™d have pink underwear and a bologna sandwich that cost 50 cents.
ARPAIO: Yes, yes, itâ€™s federal. Sean, itâ€™s federal.
HANNITY: Oh, OK, because itâ€™s fed (ph).
ARPAIO: I could play bocce. Yes, three meals a day. It would have been all right.
HANNITY: Three and a cot, right?
HANNITY: All right. On a serious note, give us a headline of the abuse of the judiciary before we get back to Steve Harrigan on the ground in Corpus Christi tonight.
ARPAIO: Well, first of all, youâ€™re a great journalist. Trying broken (ph) story, heâ€™s a lawyer, too. But Iâ€™m going to discuss all that with my lawyer.
I think people will be shocked. They probably won't believe a certain news media, trying to destroy me all these years. But weâ€™ll see, weâ€™ll get -- try to get the message out Monday or Tuesday.
HANNITY: All right. Sheriff, our best to you and your wife. Thank you for all the years of service.
Iâ€™m relieved for you, for your wife, for your family. And Iâ€™m glad that the president -- he did the right thing. Thereâ€™s no question about it. And Iâ€™m sure heâ€™ll take heat, but he is a -- he is a man of conviction as we've all learned.
And he's not going to be compliant to what people him to be. And I think that's why people admire him so much.
Sheriff, all my prayers. All the best, sir. And weâ€™ll talk soon.
ARPAIO: Thank you, Sean. Thank you.