"I bet anyone with an accent like Jose's would have been presumed undocumented by him as the sheriff and as the political persona he created," she said.

"So, in his personal life," she scoffed, the sheriff wants the public to believe "he assumed his boyfriend is legal?"

Indeed, anyone who saw Orozco's CNN interview, in which he struggled to express himself in English, would doubt Babeu's claim, considering his nativist views.

Republican CD4 candidate and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu
Republican CD4 candidate and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu
Former U.S. Representative from western New York state Chris Lee, a GOPer
Former U.S. Representative from western New York state Chris Lee, a GOPer

"How dare he portray himself as a victim," Garcia exclaimed. "It's clear who's the cop and who's got the badge."

Babeu has accused Orozco of identity theft and of website hacking.

Orozco never tried to pass himself off as Babeu, though he did post unflattering messages on Twitter accounts and websites that Orozco had registered on the sheriff's behalf.

And Orozco didn't have to hack into Babeu's sites. Even Babeu admits that he had authorized Orozco to handle his campaign sites and social media. DeRose's cease-and-desist letter demanded that Orozco turn over all passwords, as well as control of Babeu's fundraising software, which he did.

Arizona State University Professor Robert Clinton, who teaches classes on cyber-law, explains that the onus is on employers to maintain copies of passwords and to block a fired employee's access.

"If he had been terminated or otherwise let go, or the relationship had ended," Clinton said of Orozco, "then it was the sheriff's obligation to get the passwords changed. Sounds like he didn't."

Based on my description of the details, Clinton doubted that Orozco could face criminal penalties under existing cyber-law.

"There are some criminal liabilities under computer-intrusion statutes," he said. "But for the most part, former employees, aren't going to be prosecuted."

Asked whether what Orozco did constituted hacking, Clinton replied, "I know [Babeu and his lawyer] want to make it sound that way — but no."

One thing is evident: The sheriff is the victimizer — not the victim — in this sordid affair.

And he has no one to blame but himself for the predicament he finds himself in. Whether, or not, he ever faces criminal liability for what he's done, he has dug his political grave deeper at every turn.

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