Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has filed to have a contempt of court conviction cleared as he officially kicks off his bid to be Arizona's next senator.
Local Arizona news station KTAR reported Friday that Arpaio has filed an appeal with the U.S. District Court, arguing that Judge Susan Bolton “refused to give the Sheriff a trial by jury,” and that her “verdict was completely unsupported by the evidence, among numerous other reasons" when she found him in contempt of court for refusing to stop racially profiling Hispanic people at traffic stops for immigration checks.
The former Arizona sheriff, who lost his reelection bid in 2016 after two decades on the job, was known as "America's toughest sheriff" for his "tent city" prison complex and oft-criticized brutal treatment of prisoners.
Arpaio was convicted of contempt in July, before being pardoned by President TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE in August.
Arpaio, a top Trump supporter, filed paperwork to run for Senate this week after announcing his bid last week.
“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” he told The Washington Examiner last week.
“I’m going to have to work hard; you don’t take anything for granted. But I would not be doing this if I thought that I could not win. I’m not here to get my name in the paper, I get that every day, anyway,” he said.
During his tenure as sheriff, Arpaio helped popularize the "birther" conspiracy that questioned former President Obama’s birthplace, a fringe theory that Trump has also promoted. Democrats and others have called the movement racist.
Arizona's open Senate seat is currently held by retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R), who announced last year that he would not seek reelection. He made the announcement, in the face of a tough primary challenge, in a fiery speech on the Senate floor denouncing the president.