Paul Babeu’s Mexican Ex-Lover Says Sheriff’s Attorney Threatened Him With Deportation

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Paul Babeu’s Mexican Ex-Lover Says Sheriff’s Attorney Threatened Him With Deportation

Phoenix new times
Monica Alonzo


Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu — who became the face of Arizona border security nationally after he started stridently opposing illegal immigration — threatened his Mexican ex-lover with deportation when the man refused to promise never to disclose their years-long relationship, the former boyfriend and his lawyer tell New Times.The latest of the alleged threats were made through Babeu’s personal attorney, who’s also running the sheriff’s campaign for Congress in District 4, the ex-lover says.He says lawyer Chris DeRose demanded he sign an agreement that he would never breathe a word about the affair. But Jose (New Times is withholding his last name because Babeu and his attorney have challenged his legal status) refused.The 34-year-old from central Mexico charges that the sheriff’s lawyer warned against mentioning the affair with Babeu. DeRose said gossip about Babeu would focus attention on Jose, attention that could result in his deportation, Jose says.
Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose’s attorney, confirms her client’s account.
She says she spoke directly to the sheriff’s lawyer, DeRose, about the Babeu camp’s threats that Jose could be deported if he “revealed the relationship.” She says DeRose falsely claimed that Jose’s visa had expired.”Jose came to our firm because he felt he was being intimidated, and he was in fear for his life,” Weiss-Riner says. “He wanted his legal rights protected.”Babeu didn’t respond to requests for comment by publication time for this article, but his attorney, DeRose, says the dispute between Jose and the sheriff concerned Jose’s work on Babeu’s websites. He says Jose was a former volunteer who hacked into a campaign website.DeRose didn’t immediately address the other claims against him and the sheriff, except to say, “I never threatened to deport anybody” and that “[Babeu’s] not threatening anybody.”Informed of the situation, Nancy-Jo Merritt, a longtime Phoenix immigration attorney, says such a threat would be indicative of an “atmosphere that’s been created politically in this state, so that if you get angry at someone who is Hispanic, you immediately jump down to the level of threatening to deport him.”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, Merritt says.
“That’s just the worst kind of hypocrisy.”
She adds that federal immigration-enforcement agents have better things to do than “take care of Babeu’s boyfriends.”
Antonio Bustamante, a criminal defense attorney and immigration activist, tells New Times that if the allegations against Babeu are true, “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.”
Jose says he met Babeu in October 2006 on gay.com, a dating website. What started with an online invitation from Babeu for the two to get together, he says, turned into not only a personal relationship but a professional one.
Jose says he created and maintained Babeu’s campaign websites, his Facebook page, and his Twitter account. Babeu didn’t pay him for his online services, he claims.
Jose says Babeu told him that he loved him and was with him exclusively. But Jose suspected Babeu was lying. The relationship soured, and Jose believes that Babeu sent DeRose after him. He says DeRose demanded the passwords to Babeu’s websites and social-media accounts. Jose says he complied but that Babeu and his attorney also wanted Jose to sign a document that would bind him legally to keep silent about the relationship.
Jose admits that he lashed out on news websites featuring stories about Babeu. He says he commented anonymously that the sheriff was not who people thought he was. He says he once wrote a comment on Chino Valley eNews that Babeu had an account on adam4adam.com, where gay men arrange sexual liaisons.
Jose shared text messages between him and Babeu with New Times. A September 4, 2011, text from the sheriff reads: “You can never have business after this and you will harm me and many others in the process . . . including yourself & your family.”
A couple of minutes later, Babeu followed with: “And you say you have loved me? Papi . . . this is no good.”
Jose responded: “Good threats. Wont work. Im already hurt me . . . and you didn’t care.”
They exchanged more texts on September 6.
Jose: “Dont threat me. Thats illegal. Im just speaking . . . true.”
Babeu: “You have crossed the line. Better get an attorney. You brother will also be contacted.”
The following day, on September 7, DeRose sent an e-mail directly to Jose ordering him to “cease and desist.”
DeRose wrote: “If you are serious about an amicable resolution to this, it is critical that no further offensive actions against my client be taken in the meantime. This should go without saying.”
Jose says that’s when he hired Weiss-Riner.

Paul Babeu’s Mexican Ex-Lover Says Sheriff’s Attorney Threatened Him With Deportation

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