Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks at GOP convention

PHOENIX (AP) — The longtime sheriff of metro Phoenix has snagged a coveted speaking spot on the final night of the Republican National Convention.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio spoke before Donald Trump took the stage to give his speech accepting the GOP presidential nomination.

Arpaio was a late addition to the convention schedule. Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham confirmed Arpaio will speak at 8 p.m. EDT.

The six-term sheriff has been an enthusiastic Trump supporter for the past year and has regularly campaigned for the New York businessman.

"I've been campaigning for him whenever I could and he kind of likes what I do," Arpaio said. "It's an honor to be able to speak to the people tonight to once again reaffirm my support for him."

The speech comes a day after a federal judge in Phoenix presiding over a racial profiling case handed down the first round of punishments for the lawman's decision to prolong signature immigration patrols months after being told to stop. Arpaio has been found in civil contempt in the case.

He voluntarily gave up his last major foothold in immigration enforcement in January 2015 after the courts and federal government gradually reined in his powers.

The sheriff's political strength has been gradually declining over the past four election cycles. But Arpaio's base of devoted supporters and his impressive fundraising have helped him pull out wins.

Arpaio said the court case hasn't hurt his standing with Trump.

"This has been in the news for years, especially the past year, it's been all over the place," Arpaio said. "That didn't affect my campaigning for Donald Trump or how he feels for me. He's been mentioning me almost every speech he gives, so there's nothing new with that decision, it's been there on and on and on."

On Friday, Arpaio is set to appear before the federal judge for a hearing to examine whether he will recommend a criminal contempt-of-court case against Arpaio for ignoring his orders in the racial profiling case.

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