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A presidential pardon may be imminent for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, according to a Fox News interview with President Donald Trump posted Monday morning.

Arpaio, 85, was convicted of criminal contempt two weeks ago after a judge found he had defied a court order intended to stamp out his signature immigration patrols.

Arpaio last week told The Arizona Republic he would accept a pardon from Trump, but wasn’t going to ask for it. He wondered aloud whether the president had yet caught wind of his legal woes.

MORE: What could happen to Joe Arpaio?

It appears he has.

“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” the president reportedly told Fox News at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him.”

Arpaio is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5 and could spend up to six months in jail. Though his attorneys are planning on appealing the conviction, a presidential pardon would be the swiftest exit from the case.

Trump told the network the pardon could come as early as this week.

“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump told the Fox reporter. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

When reached by phone Monday afternoon, Arpaio said he was feeling “very humble” at the possibility of a pardon. 

“I didn’t ask him; I think I told you that before,” Arpaio said. “But I’m not going to turn down his offer, because whatever he wants, I would do, pardon or anything else. Especially since I’m not guilty.”

Arpaio said he hasn’t yet heard from the administration and only learned about Trump’s comments from Fox News. 

As of Monday afternoon, the White House had yet to issue an official comment on the matter and did not respond to emails from The Republic. But Arpaio said he has reason to be optimistic. 

“One thing about the president, he’s been following through on all the promises he made running for office,” he said. “There’s no doubt that he follows through with what the says.”

When asked about the formalities of accepting a pardon, Arpaio directed questions to his attorneys, adding, “stay tuned.” 

MORE: Joe Arpaio’s guilty verdict: What his supporters, critics are saying

Arpaio was one of the earliest and most vocal champions of Trump during the presidential campaign, and he introduced Trump at Mesa and Fountain Hills rallies. The former Maricopa County sheriff also stumped for his political ally across the country, traveling to Cleveland last year to speak at the Republican National Convention and to Washington D.C., in January for his inauguration.

“I have not called (Trump) on this issue,” Arpaio said last week. “I’m sure I could. … I’m with him, pardon no pardon, and not asking him.”

The two share hard-line stances on illegal immigration and seem to have a warm personal relationship, as well. In a December interview with The Republic, Arpaio fondly recounted how Trump personally called to check in when he heard Arpaio’s wife, Ava, had cancer.

Arpaio last week made his rounds in local media and conservative news sites, posing the issue of a pardon and reigniting a long-standing conversation about whether Trump will flex his executive powers.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups who leveled the underlying racial-profiling case, criticized the president’s remarks in a Monday statement. 

“President Trump would be literally pardoning Joe Arpaio’s flagrant violation of federal court orders that prohibited the illegal detention of Latinos,” said Cecillia Wang, ACLU deputy legal director and one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys. “He would undo a conviction secured by his own career attorneys at the Justice Department. Make no mistake: This would be an official presidential endorsement of racism.”

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton last month used Arpaio’s own words to find that he had intentionally flouted a 2011 federal judge’s order stemming from a racial-profiling case against the office.

The order directed deputies to either arrest or release those they believed to be in the country illegally. Essentially, they could detain individuals if only they were suspected of a state crime.

But federal prosecutors said Arpaio’s deputies continued rounding up people without evidence of a state crime, turning over more than 170 to federal immigration authorities.

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