AZ Sheriff and Congress. Candidate Forced to Admit He's Gay

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is almost as bad as Joe Arpaio -- he's often called the "new Arpaio." One example of his over-the top style of policing: In 2010, he mandated the use of lethal force against drug smugglers.

I've given specific instruction, no less than lethal force is going to be used. It's all lethal force only and we go into that environment knowing that we're likely expecting an armed threat from these people," Babeu said.

He's the "face" of Arizona's border war against unlawful immigration and now he's running for Congress. Friday, Phoenix New Times outed him as gay, based on information from a Hispanic man Babeu had a long relationship with and who claims Babeu threatened him with deportation if their relationship became public. Babeu now acknowledges he is gay, but denies making the threat. He's also staying in the Congressional race. [More...]

It gets worse. The alleged threat to the ex-lover was made by Babeu's personal lawyer, first to him and then confirmed to his lawyer. Babeu's lawyer is also his campaign manager.

The affair lasted years. The man says they met in October 2006 on gay.com, a dating website. And, the ex-lover was not only personally involved with Babeu but professionally. "He maintained Babeu's campaign websites, his Facebook page, and his Twitter account."

The ex-lover saved voicemails and text messages.

The text messages — many still saved on Jose's cell phone — appear to be sent from Babeu's business cell phone. Babeu identifies himself on his voice mail and says he is the sheriff of Pinal County.

There's also photos:

He shared with New Times photographs that he claims Babeu e-mailed to the anonymous love interest. In the photographs, the sheriff revealed himself shirtless, in his underwear, and naked from the waist down.

At the press conference, Babeu did not dispute the validity of the photos and texts:

Babeu admitted to reporters that he did have a personal relationship with Jose, the man who reached out to New Times to share his story. And he also said he did not deny the veracity of the text messages or photos published by our publication.

The issue is not that Babeu is gay. An immigration attorney in Arizona (no relation) says:

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..."That's just the worst kind of hypocrisy."

Another says:

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."

Babeu is also co-chair of Mitt Romney's Arizona presidential Campaign (He resigned today.)

The ex-lover's lawyer is not retreating from her allegations that the threats were made by Babeu's lawyer both to her and her client -- separately.

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    By the time the Republicans have finished (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:40:51 PM EST
    shrinking their pool of enfranchised people, Grover Norquist's dream will be realized.  But it will be the Republican party that fits in that bathtub, or more probably, a closet.

    At dinner tonight (none / 0) (#2)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:32:33 PM EST
    my husband and I were almost gagging with rueful laughter as we talked about whether Babeu's purported escapdes together with demagogic public persona resemble most former Idaho Sen. Larry "wide stance" Craig or Rep. Mark "bring on the pages" Foley???

    Obviously, I'm a partisan Democrat.  But, these guys? What the heck is going on?

    The sad, sad part is that this situation--if the newspaper's report, etc. is true--casts a light on one of the most cynical public postures that I can recall in the political arena: The demagoguery of a politician on the matter of immigration and the simultaneous threatening of an illegal-immigrant-lover to keep his mouth shut lest he be referred for deportation proceedings. If this allegation stands, per newspaper reports, then my only question is whether there has been any more cynical posturing on social issues by a holier-than-thou type who is the opposite of what he purports to be in public?

    An attorney here... an attorney there... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:34:31 PM EST
    Pretty soon you're talking about real money.

    Good to See Grown People so Giddy (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:15:43 AM EST
    Pretty sure gay people across the country don't share in your enthusiasm.  These a-holes are black marks on the gay community, and your adolescent attitude is why people have to live in the closet.  It isn't funny, his shame your attitude creates is why the closet exists and in this case his shame could have gotten a US Citizen deported.  Grow up.

    The gay portion of this story only matters in how it relates to the extortion.  Quite acting like Beavis and Butthead after hearing the word 'f@rt'.


    If the ex-lover's silence would be considered (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:51:36 PM EST
    legally to be a "valuable thing," then the threat could constitute the federal crime of blackmail.  Similarly, if Babeau invoked his authority as sheriff in connection with the threat, then this deprivation of the ex-lover's First Amendment right to freedom of speech (and his right to provide information to the press), both of which are applicable even to undocumented aliens, could be a criminal violation of federal civil rights law.

    Is it even legal (none / 0) (#6)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:24:34 PM EST
    to "voluntarily" relinquish a constitutional right?

    I know the issue has come up in "slave/master" relationships where, even when both parties voluntarily enter into such an agreement, it does not carry the weight of law.

    Babeau's attorney certainly should know that and, so the threat of some sort of legal recourse being available to Babeau if his ex-lover went public about their relationship (assuming he signed the non-disclosure doc.) was simply a ruse. No?

    fixed, thanks (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 02:59:27 PM EST

    Site violator - spam (none / 0) (#12)
    by Yman on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:26:17 AM EST
    Hitting several old threads, too.