Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was one of President Trump's biggest supporters during the campaign, but isn't sure if that will keep him out of prison.
Arpaio, the 85-year-old former Arizona law man, was found guilty Monday of misdemeanor contempt of court, a federal charge.
If his appeals are unsuccessful, Arpaio faces up to six months behind bars. Trump has the power to pardon under the U.S. Constitution.
"Oh, I don't know," Arpaio said of a pardon. He added, however, "I was his supporter from day one, back in July of 2015 and I still support him all the way." Arpaio publicly endorsed Trump in January 2016, after Trump made illegal immigration a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton found Arpaio deliberately ignored a 2011 court order barring his department from detaining illegal immigrants unless officers believed they broke state laws.
Arpaio, found guilty of civil contempt by another judge last year, referred questions about the case to his legal team, but said if appeals fail he's unsure if he can count on Trump exercising his clemency power.
"Right now we're appealing this case, and we'll see how it goes," he said, describing it as too early to say if he would contact Trump directly.
Years before Trump turned heads with colorful opposition to illegal immigration and gentle policing, Arpaio forced inmates to wear pink underwear, made them work in a tent city, and forced them to eat "bread and water" if they defaced American flag stickers in their cells.
Arpaio held the office 24 years before losing re-election in November. Celebrated as "America's Toughest Sherriff" by supporters, he was reviled by immigration rights activists and civil libertarians who objected, among other things, to his role in the arrest of journalists who published his home address.
Bolton used many of the former sheriff's media interviews against him in her ruling, including his telling PBS News, "I'm still going to do what I'm doing. I'm still going to arrest illegal aliens coming into this country."
In another 2012 interview, he told Fox News: "I'm not going to give up. I'm going to continue to enforce state laws and federal laws."
Attorney Martin Goldman, who is representing Arpaio, said in a statement that Arpaio will demand a jury trial on appeal. "Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will," he said.
Since Bolton's ruling, the sheriff has been less candid with reporters, citing the potential legal consequences.
Declining to speak in detail about the case, he said, "I don't want to avoid you, but sometimes you have to listen to the lawyers, right?"