At 11 a.m. today, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, and nine other Arizona sheriffs, will hold a press conference at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza at the State Capitol to discuss the federal government's bungled gun trafficking sting, "Operation Fast and Furious."
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will not be in attendance.
At a 2:30 p.m. press conference yesterday, after telling reporters he was too busy arresting people to discuss "Fast and Furious," we asked the sheriff if he would be at Babeu's presser. Arpaio told New Times he hadn't yet heard of Babeu's press conference.
"How does the New Times know about this [press conference] before we do," the 79-year-old sheriff then asked his PR folks.
We thought it would be a bit odd for Babeu to hold a press conference -- in Maricopa County -- with several Arizona sheriffs without even extending an invitation to America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff." So we hit up Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tim Gaffney.
We asked Gaffney why Arpaio wasn't invited to Babeu's sheriff-filled press conference. According to Gaffney, Arpaio was invited.
"I was there when Sheriff Babeu talked with him about it today. Sheriff Arpaio couldn't attend due to a conflict," Gaffney says.
We explained that "[Arpaio] literally just told me he hadn't heard a thing about it. He was shocked. He even asked [his PR flack] Lisa Allen why 'New Times knows about this but I don't.'"
Gaffney responded with "[Arpaio and Babeau] spoke by phone at around noon. I was sitting by Sheriff Babeu and heard the conversation."
The conversation, as Gaffney points out, happened around noon. Our conversation with the sheriff was about three hours later. In those three hours, Arpaio -- again, at 79 -- either forgot he was invited to Babeu's press conference, or he lied when we asked him if he was going.
Senile, or a liar -- what's it gonna be?
Either way, the majority of Arizona's sheriffs will be talking about 1,500 guns that ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels thanks to the federal government. Meanwhile, Arpaio will be chasing Hispanic cleaning ladies through southwest Phoenix.
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