As Phoenix rally nears, President Trump keeps “America’s toughest sheriff” in suspense

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio leaves the federal courthouse on Thursday, July 6, 2017, in Phoenix. The former Maricopa County sheriff's criminal trial concluded Thursday. Arpaio is charged with misdemeanor contempt of court for violating a 2011 order to stop the patrols that a judge later determined racially profiled Latinos. (AP Photo/Angie Wang)

Rumors have persisted that President Trump will pardon controversial Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio when he comes to Phoenix for another campaign-style rally Tuesday night.

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Arpaio is known as “America’s toughest sheriff,” but he was also voted out of office last year and was recently convicted of criminal contempt-of-court.

Appropriately for a president who comes from the world of reality TV, Trump is apparently keeping Arpaio in suspense.

“So what’s the scoop on me?” Arpaio asked on Monday night, according to NBC News. “Will he pardon me?”

Arpaio told NBC News that he’s been kept in the dark on what Trump plans to do.

“Do you think he’ll do it tomorrow night? Who knows,” Arpaio said in a phone interview with NBC News. “I don’t know.”

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Arpaio endorsed Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, appearing at rallies with him. He is known for his aggressive immigration crackdowns. Last week, Trump told Fox News that he was seriously considering a pardon for Arpaio, who was ruled by a judge to have committed a crime by flouting a court order to stop detaining people simply on suspicion of their immigration status.

RELATED: Sheriff Joe Arpaio will not back down from his investigation into President Obama’s birth certificate 

That ruling was viewed as a rebuke of the sheriff, whose tactics, which included housing immigrants in a tent city and forcing detainees to wear pink underwear, had long been controversial.

Trump said of Arpaio: “He’s a great American patriot, and I hate to see what has happened to him.”

RELATED: How the “toughest sheriff in America” wants citizens to help fight terrorism and shootings

According to NBC, Arpaio and his deputies were found to have engaged in racial profiling against Latinos in 2013, backing up the findings of a 2011 Justice Department report.

Arpaio served as sheriff for 24 years before losing his re-election bid last November. He said the president raising the possibility of a pardon was unexpected.

“That was out of the blue,” Arpaio said. “No idea.”

It appears Arpaio, like everybody else, will have to wait until Tuesday night’s rally to learn what the president plans to do.

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