AZ sheriff denies allegations to deport alleged ex-lover - CBS 5 - KPHO

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AZ sheriff denies allegations to deport alleged ex-lover

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Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu
PINAL COUNTY, AZ (CBS5) -

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is denying allegations that he and his attorney threatened to deport an alleged ex-boyfriend of Babeu if that man went public about the relationship.

Explosive allegations came in a Phoenix New Times article by Monica Alonzo, on Friday claiming that Babeu's attorney, Chris DeRose, demanded that the alleged ex-lover sign an agreement that Jose would never speak about the relationship.    

At a press conference on Friday Babeu said, "At no time did I or anyone who represents me ever threaten deportation."

He went on to say that the article got it all wrong, "Except for the issue that refer to me as being gay because that's the truth. I am gay," Babeu said.

Babue went on to explain his relationship with the accuser, a man named Jose, according to the Phoenix New Times article.

"There was a personal relationship, and separate and apart from that, he was a volunteer for my political campaign," he said.

Babeu said this man had access to his campaign web site and social media accounts, saying when the relationship ended, the accuser started posting things he shouldn't have.

In a letter sent to Jose that was released from DeRose Saturday it reads in part, "Recently, you unlawfully accessed the Mr. Babeu's account on Twitter. You have also illegally hijacked the campaign's Piryx account.  This is and was at all relevant times his property and that of his re-election campaign.  You had no authorization to do so." 

Babeu said attorneys only got involved when Jose unlawfully accessed those accounts.

The Phoenix New Times article also said that Jose released a series of texts messages between the two.

CBS 5 News asked Babeu at the news conference if he used his work phone to send any of those messages to Jose. He said, "No, not at all. No government resources were used."

Alleged controversial photos of Babeu and Jose were also released to the New Times.

Babeu said at the news conference that those photos were only meant to be sent to an individual.

 "What I do in my private and personal life is my business," Babeu said.

Melissa Weiss-Riner who represent Jose said that the press conference was surprising because it focused on the wrong thing

"It is not about his sexuality it is about the fear and intimidation my client felt," said Weiss-Riner.

She said while Babeu's attorney is sending out proof of his clients claims of no wrong doing her client also has proof of his claims.

"He has verification of those facts and evidence to support them," said Weiss-Riner.

CBS 5 News spoke with supporters who say this will not change their opinion of the sheriff,

"I think he's doing a good job," said John Smith, but his longtime critics think the sheriff isn't being honest about what happened.

"I am absolutely astonished that the sheriff would deny the allegations that he threatened someone," said immigration activist Lydia Guzman.

The Sheriff said he did step down as an Arizona co-chairman of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and will continue his run for Arizona's 4th Congressional District seat.  

The law firm representing Jose, Horan Law Offices, e-mailed this statement to the media Saturday evening:

"Jose retained our law firm after he was contacted by Sheriff Babeu's attorney, because he felt intimidated and needed someone to help protect his rights. As a campaign volunteer, our client created and maintained several websites and accounts at Sheriff Paul Babeu's request. The websites and accounts were created and maintained for Sheriff Babeu from approximately 2008 through late 2011.

"Jose continues to live in fear, and is currently in the process of moving again. Therefore, he is not available to speak with the media at this time."

Copyright 2012 KPHO (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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