Aug 31, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
PHOENIX - Paul Babeu has been cleared in a state investigation into whether he abused his authority as sheriff of Pinal County, after his former boyfriend who is a Mexican immigrant accused Babeu of threatening to deport him.
State Solicitor General Dave Smith said Friday that Babeu has committed no criminal violations and will not be charged in the case. He also cleared the boyfriend, Jose Orozco, whom Babeu accused of property and identity theft in the handling of the sheriff’s Twitter account and other websites.
Babeu had asked the Attorney General’s Office earlier this year to look into the claims made by Orozco. Cole oversaw the investigation to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest on the part of Attorney General Tom Horne.
Babeu declined to comment before a scheduled Friday afternoon news conference in Florence. Orozco’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cole considered filing harassment and other charges against Orozco but ultimately determined that prosecution of misdemeanor counts wouldn’t be a good use of resources.
The sheriff, who recently won the Republican nomination in his re-election bid, had pulled out of the race for a congressional seat after news broke of his falling out with Orozco. Babeu acknowledged he is gay after shirtless photos of him on a gay website emerged.
Babeu still faces another inquiry from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. That office is looking into whether Babeu and his top aides violated the federal Hatch Act, which makes it illegal for certain government workers to participate in political activities.