“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!”
Sir Walter Scott wasn’t talking specifically about self-proclaimed “corruption fighter” Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, AZ, but he could have been all the same. Babeu’s the strident, rightwing, bald-headed blowhard who’s neck and neck with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the contest to see which of them can get the most “Hey, look at me!” media attention for being the most hateful racist hard-ass in Arizona law enforcement. He was in John McCain’s “border patrol” campaign ad in 2008. The guy’s got an insatiable need for media attention and is frequently seen on Fox News whenever they require someone to play a border hawk. Babeu recently spoke to the CPAC gathering of religious conservatives in Washington, DC. He’s got big plans to springboard from his anti-immigrant notoriety to a seat in Congress.
Uh… not so fast… We all know what this sort of idiotic attention-seeking did for Arpaio, who is the subject of a major Justice Department investigation that already looks so incredibly gnarly that Arpaio’s dumbass is obviously toast.. Now investigative journalist Monica Alonzo, reporting in the Phhoenix New Times has broken the story of a scandal that involves Sheriff Paul Babeu and it’s a doozy:
Babeu’s Mexican former lover is claiming that the sheriff’s attorney has threatened him with deportation unless he signed an agreement never to discuss their years-long relationship!!!
*Sputter* *cough*… I mean, you can’t make this shit up. And no one did. The evidence seems pretty damning to say the least!
The latest of the alleged threats were made through Babeu’s personal attorney, who’s also running the sheriff’s campaign for Congress in District 4, the ex-lover says.
He says lawyer Chris DeRose demanded he sign an agreement that he would never breathe a word about the affair. But Jose (New Times is withholding his last name because Babeu and his attorney have challenged his legal status) refused.
The 34-year-old from central Mexico charges that the sheriff’s lawyer warned against mentioning the affair with Babeu. DeRose said gossip about Babeu would focus attention on Jose, attention that could result in his deportation, Jose says.
Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose’s attorney, confirms her client’s account.
She says she spoke directly to the sheriff’s lawyer, DeRose, about the Babeu camp’s threats that Jose could be deported if he “revealed the relationship.” She says DeRose falsely claimed that Jose’s visa had expired.
“Jose came to our firm because he felt he was being intimidated, and he was in fear for his life,” Weiss-Riner says. “He wanted his legal rights protected.”
Babeu didn’t respond to requests for comment by publication time for this article, but his attorney, DeRose, says the dispute between Jose and the sheriff concerned Jose’s work on Babeu’s websites. He says Jose was a former volunteer who hacked into a campaign website.
DeRose didn’t immediately address the other claims against him and the sheriff, except to say, “I never threatened to deport anybody” and that “[Babeu’s] not threatening anybody.”
Believe that if you are really gullible… There’s even a part of the story that involves a jealous Jose doing a “Babooshka” on Babeu, writing to him under a nom de plume on a website called adam4adam.com and posing as another man in order to catch him in the act! More from the New Times article:
Informed of the situation, Nancy-Jo Merritt, a longtime Phoenix immigration attorney, says such a threat would be indicative of an “atmosphere that’s been created politically in this state, so that if you get angry at someone who is Hispanic, you immediately jump down to the level of threatening to deport him.
“If what [Babeu’s attorney] says is correct [about Jose’s being illegal], either the sheriff had a long relationship with someone he knew was undocumented, while all the time being Mr. Bluster about the border and using it for political gain,” or he threatened to deport someone he just broke up with, Merritt says. [Emphasis added].
“That’s just the worst kind of hypocrisy.”
She adds that federal immigration-enforcement agents have better things to do than “take care of Babeu’s boyfriends.”
Antonio Bustamante, a criminal defense attorney and immigration activist, tells New Times that if the allegations against Babeu are true, “To use a position of authority . . . and make legal threats opens a Pandora’s box of ethics issues for any law enforcement person or any elected person. In this case, he’s both.”
Paul Babeu’s a lot of things!
When asked for a statement about the allegations and the online profile, Babeu’s attorney said:
“He believes he’ll be judged by his record as a 20-year veteran of the United States Armed Forces, police officer who has saved two lives in the line of duty and responded to thousands of emergencies, and Iraq war veteran.”