Hours before the White House announced that President Trump’s pardon of former sheriff Joe Arpaio, a shady nonprofit sent out an email signed by Arpaio, telling his supporters that he would need more than $1 million for his legal defense fund.
The fundraising email, titled “Urgent Personal Request,” told Arpaio supporters that their money was needed to keep the 85-year-old sheriff out of jail. It was sent at 3:21 p.m., less than five hours before the White House announced Arpaio’s pardon, which it hinted at for weeks.
The money went to something called The National Center for Police Defense, Inc., a nonprofit that has faced questions about its lack of transparency.
The NCPD appears to be an entirely separate entity from the Sheriff Joe Arpaio Legal Defense Fund, for which Arpaio began soliciting donations immediately after his pardon.
..how they can con’t to help, a donation to my Legal fund go directly to paying off legal fees from this fight https://t.co/wM6SDLLxEN
— Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) August 26, 2017
A disclaimer at the bottom of the NCPD fundraising email noted: “NCPD has complete discretion and control over the use of all donated funds.”
“I know that if my request for a jury trial — my Constitutional and express statutory right to one — had not been repeatedly denied, this made-up case against me would never have stood a chance,” Arpaio wrote, according to the fundraising email.
“Make no mistake: the ACLU and the Obama-era DOJ attorneys behind the case against me cheered when I turned in my Maricopa County Sheriff’s badge,” the statement added. “Then, they deliberately stripped me of my right to a trial by a jury of my peers.”
“I’m appealing to you, don’t let them take my freedom too!” the email stated, before asking for donations ranging from $35 to $2,000.
The NCPD sent at least a half-dozen emails soliciting money on behalf of Arpaio — including at least three sent under the name Ava Arpaio, Joe Arpaio’s wife.
The fundraising letters were sent from an address belonging to Kay Daly, whose husband, Jack Daly, ran a shady super PAC that spent a disproportionately high amount of its donations on fundraising.
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in July for violating a 2011 court order to stop police patrols that were apprehending illegal immigrants based solely on immigration status and handing them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
A White House statement announcing the pardon noted that Arpaio is 85-years-old, adding: “and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
Arpaio sent a tweet Friday night thanking President Trump “for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!”
An earlier version of this article referred to a Charity Navigator entry and a Tampa Bay Times article about the National Police Defense Foundation, not the National Center for Police Defense.