DOJ asks court to throw out case against Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016.

REUTERS

The Justice Department has filed papers asking a federal court in Arizona to drop its case against former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, since President Trump pardoned him in August.

Arpaio was to be sentenced later this year, after he was found guilty of a misdemeanor contempt charge for defying a 2011 order that he stop carrying out immigration patrols. He prolonged the patrols for 17 months, prompting U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to find him guilty in a 14-page ruling issued on July 31. 

The Justice Department's filing argues, "A pardon issued before entry of final judgment moots a criminal case because the defendant will face no consequences that result from the guilty verdict. Accordingly, the government agrees that the Court should vacate all orders and dismiss the case as moot."

Mr. Trump granted Arpaio a full pardon because "he kept Arizona safe," he said in a tweet. The president had been advised not to pardon Arpaio before the sentencing, given that White House lawyers believed the contempt charge was unconstitutional. Another factor was the belief that the sentence might be lenient and not include jail time for Arpaio.

Arpaio had also asked the court to throw out his case soon after the president pardoned him. 

CBS News' Andres Triay and Major Garrett contributed to this report.