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Joe Arpaio says he was duped by ‘Borat’ star Sacha Baron Cohen

FILE - In this May 22, 2018 file photo, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks during a campaign event in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX — Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he was among the subjects of a prank done at the hands of “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen for the comedian’s new show.

Cohen reportedly “duped” Arpaio by posing as a famous comedian from Finland while filming an interview October of last year, according to Breitbart News.

Arpaio told the publication that producers said he was picked as one of the 20 “most popular” people in America for a feature being sold to Showtime. The interview, Arpaio claimed, was being filmed live with 2 million people watching.

But Arpaio claimed that he became “very uncomfortable” with some of the graphic words and phrases that Cohen’s character used. He also said he thought it was unusual that “they didn’t offer to powder his face before the interview.”

The former sheriff also claimed that “at the time of the interview request he was a private citizen and did not have his sheriff’s department staff to vet the interview.” Arpaio was voted out of his position a month after the reported interview took place.

The stunt was reportedly done for Cohen’s just-announced Showtime series “Who Is America?” The show, according to The New York Times, was teased as “perhaps the most dangerous show in the history of television” and will “[blur] the line between satire and reporting, with the disguised star filleting unwitting subjects.”

The show, which has been in the works for more than a year, will be Cohen’s first return to a starring television role since 2004. It will premiere on Sunday.

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore also came forward this week, alleging that they were duped by Cohen for his show.

Arpaio told Breitbart News that two producers said they were also interviewing Palin and claimed they “love” President Donald Trump.

Arpaio has been a long-time supporter of the president. Trump also pardoned Arpaio last year, after the former sheriff was found guilty of misdemeanor contempt for continuing his immigration sweeps for 17 months after a judge ordered him to stop.

But despite the prank, Arpaio told the publication that he believes he will be portrayed well in the interview.

“I was very careful in responding to controversial issues. Profiling. Illegal immigration. They were hitting me with all of that,” he told Breitbart News.

Arpaio is currently running for U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat. A recent poll showed that U.S. Rep. Martha McSally had a 14-point lead over Republican opponents Dr. Kelli Ward, a former state senator, and Arpaio.

Editor’s note: The episode of “Who Is America?” featuring Arpaio will air at 10 p.m. on Aug. 5, according to a tweet from Cohen. 

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