Did noted racist, convicted criminal, U.S. Senate candidate, and disgraced former sheriff Joe Arpaio really find out on live television that by accepting Donald Trump’s presidential pardon after being found guilty of criminal contempt of court, he was admitting guilt? It sure looks like it.
Arpaio has been adamant that he did nothing wrong, and has actually boasted about flouting a federal judge’s order to stop racially profiling brown drivers. During an MSNBC appearance with Ari Melber, he continued to insist on his delusions:
Arpaio appeared on MSNBC’s The Beat, hosted by Ari Melber, and discussed the pardon. “The president—I never asked for the pardon—pardoned me because he knew that this decision was wrong,” Arpaio said before claiming he had some sort of appeal in the works for the future.
Melber then sprung into the facts surrounding Arpaio’s case, reminding viewers (and Arpaio) about the tent-city jail the sheriff once called “concentration camps” and an apparent $48 million legal bill run-up by Arpaio. The former sheriff responded by saying the folks in his jails violated the law, and if they didn’t want the conditions they shouldn’t have engaged in crimes.
“You said they violated the law,” Melber responded, then bringing up Arpaio’s intentions to bilk dupes for cash—er, intentions to run for the Senate. “You’re seeking a promotion and a judge found you violated the law. That raises the question: Why do you want to go to the Senate and write laws if you wouldn’t follow a judge’s order to uphold them?”
That’s where it all started to go downhill for poor old Joe.
Arpaio responded that “a judge found me guilty of a misdemeanor and I’m not going to go into the politics of that,” which led to Melber informing Arpaio of what exactly happens when you accept a pardon. Arpaio has either the world’s worst legal team, or ignored what his legal team told him.
Either way, he fully admitted guilt by begging for and then taking Trump’s offer:
“Let me ask you another important question because you brought up this unusual, but lawful, pardon that you received from the president,” Melber responded. “As you know, when you take a pardon you’re admitting guilt. Why did you take that pardon and admit guilt?”
From there, it seemed pretty clear Arpaio did not know everything that accompanied his pardon. “I didn’t admit guilt. I said I was not guilty and I say it today,” Arpaio responded, causing Melber to raise his eyebrows in response.
“But you accepted the pardon, and you know under the law that is an admission of guilt,” Melber said.
“No, I don’t know about that,” Arpaio said. “I’d have to talk to the legal scholars.”
Joe Arpaio, meet Ari Melber, graduate of the Cornell Law School:
Melber then walked the sheriff through the Supreme Court case, Burdick v. United States, that made clear a pardon “carries an imputation of guilt and acceptance of a confession of it.”
“Do you understand that’s the legal implication of what you did by accepting that pardon?” Melber asked. Arpaio didn’t really answer the question.
“I’m not a lawyer, thank God,” he said. “But the president can make any decision he wants on a pardon. And I’m not going to argue about what your decision is. I’m sure his lawyers have reviewed it.”
Oh man, Trump’s lawyers certainly have a lot to review, but a convicted criminal and shithole like Joe Arpaio is probably the least of their worries right now. Either way, the interview is a wonder to watch. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure this dickwad never gets into public office again.