Outed Arizona sheriff found not guilty of threatening former boyfriend
Special prosecutor clears outed Sheriff Paul Babeu of threatening to deport ex-lover
Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu, outed as a gay man this past February, has been cleared of allegations he threatened a former boyfriend.
The lawman of the US southwestern state was under investigation by a special prosecutor. Jose Orozco, Babeu’s ex-lover, is a Mexican immigrant living illegally in the country on a lapsed visa. He claimed he worked as a Babeu campaign volunteer from approximately 2008 to late 2011. He and the sheriff became a couple, and when the relationship ended Orozco was asked to sign an agreement not to publicly discuss the relationship. When the offer was refused, Babeu, and his lawyer, allegedly threatened Orozco with deportation.
‘There is no indication that he misused any authority or misused public money to harass or intimidate Jose Orozco,’ Arizona Solicitor General Dave Cole wrote in a 31 August press release (as reported by Talking Points Memo). ‘As indicated in the agent’s report, Orozco’s allegations are not supported by the facts.’
The memo added there was evidence Orozco could be charged with identity theft and harassment, but prosecution was not likely.
In a statement, Babeu repeated what he has consistently repeated when this story first broke: he was innocent and the charges were politically motivated.
‘It’s no surprise these attacks came during an election year in a failed attempt to destroy me. I want the media and my political opponents to know; my name has been cleared, I shall not be silenced by your slander.’
The 43-year-old lawman was in the running for a House of Representatives seat before the allegations were announced. He ended that campaign and broke off his association with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.