News

Paul Babeu, the Suddenly Openly Gay Pinal County Sheriff, Vows to Continue Congressional Run, Serve Out Remaining Term as Sheriff -- Despite Mexican Ex-Lover's Insistence That Sheriff's Camp Threatened Him With Deportation

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu turned a nearly hour-long press conference to address allegations of threats that he and his attorney made to Babeu's ex-boyfriend into a parade of people defending his right to be gay.

He asked a slew of own employees and friends to the microphone to offer him their unyielding support, trying to spin the situation he finds himself in into an attack on his homosexuality -- which until he confirmed it today was something he never talked about publicly. Indeed, many people New Times spoke with yesterday were amazed to learn that the tough-talking, right-wing Republican lawman is gay.

The huge irony is that Jose, Babeu's ex-boyfriend and a Mexican national, says threats of deportation came because he refused to sign an agreement not to disclose details of his relationship with the sheriff. (New Times is withholding Jose's last name because of these threats.)

See additional photos from Saturday's press conference as well as additional images obtained from Sheriff Babeu's ex-lover allegedly showing text message communication between the two.

Jose's attorney, Melissa Weiss-Riner, who received phone calls directly form Chris DeRose, Babeu's attorney and congressional campaign consultant, confirms that DeRose claimed Jose's visa was expired, as well as warned that Jose shouldn't bring attention to himself or he could be deported.

Babeu's spin is that the media (that is, New Times) used the "baseless" allegations as a "hook" to write a story about his sexuality.

Babeau's claim that the allegations are baseless is far from the truth.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo