We bet Paul Babeu will never threaten to deport this guy to Mexico ever again!
The man who accused Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu of making threats against him to prevent him from revealing their relationship filed paperwork Monday signaling he intends to sue both the sheriff and the county. The notice of claim, which attorneys for Jose Orozco filed with the sheriff and the county’s Board of Supervisors, seeks $1million in damages, according to County Manager Fritz Behring. Additional details about the notice of claim were unavailable Monday night. Neither Orozco, nor Orozco’s lawyer, Melissa Weiss-Riner, could be reached for comment. Babeu’s lawyer also could not be reached.
Tim Gaffney, Sheriff’s Office director of communications and grants, issued this statement in response to a request for comment: “A notice of claim was provided to our office earlier today regarding this matter. As with any pending civil litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.” The claim creates new complexities for Babeu, who is completing his first term as sheriff and is running for a congressional seat in central Arizona. Babeu’s relationship with Orozco surfaced Feb.17 when the Phoenix New Times alleged the sheriff and his attorney, Chris DeRose, had threatened that the former boyfriend, who is Mexican, could be deported if he revealed the relationship.
The next day, Babeu stood in front of the sheriff’s office in uniform and acknowledged he is gay but denied abusing his position or making threats. DeRose also has denied making threats. Babeu has said the disclosure in the New Times was the result of an effort to undermine him politically. Babeu has said that Orozco was a volunteer campaign worker in charge of managing his campaign website and Twitter account. Babeu claims that after the relationship ended, Orozco retaliated by posting negative material online.
Babeu has said he declined to pursue criminal charges against Orozco after Babeu’s lawyer sent him a cease-and-desist letter and Orozco agreed to stop posting the material. Beyond being a political liability, Orozco also poses another potential legal one for Babeu as well. Orozco is a Mexican national who has said he worked on Babeu’s campaign websites before their breakup. He is believed to be a legal immigrant here on a tourist visa, which would prohibit him from such work, even if unpaid.
Also, questions have arisen about whether Orozco made a $40 campaign contribution to Babeu’s 2008 run for sheriff; Babeu’s campaign filings list a donor named Jose Orozco. Political donations are also prohibited for such immigrants. In addition to the potential lawsuit, the Sheriff’s Office already faces a federal investigation into whether one or more employees engaged in prohibited political activity while on the job.
We can’t get enough of this pic of Paul with his hands all down Jose’s shirt like that. Classic.
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