Joe Arpaio, the 85-year-old avid Trump supporter who has referred to himself as “America’s toughest sheriff,” was found guilty of criminal contempt on Monday for violating a 2011 court order to stop profiling and detaining suspected Latino immigrants.
The order stems from a 2007 class action lawsuit brought against Arpaio's department by a group of Latinos who claimed racial discrimination.
According to the New York Times, United States District Judge Susan R. Bolton ruled that Arpaio had willfully violated that order. “Not only did Defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise,” she wrote.
Arpaio, whose sentencing is scheduled for October 5, maintains that the order wasn’t clearly explained. He faces up to six months in jail.
Arpaio’s lawyers, Dennis and Jack Wilenchik, will appeal Judge Bolten’s verdict for a jury trial. They said in a statement, "Her [Judge Bolten] verdict is contrary to what every single witness testified in the case. Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will."
The hard line conservative who prioritized putting a stop to illegal immigration is infamous for creating Tent City, an outdoor jail where inmates were forced to wear pink underwear and be part of chain gangs.
As CNN reports, Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term back in November to former Phoenix police officer, Paul Penzone.