Ariz. attorney general to look into sheriff misconduct claims

Ariz. attorney general to look into sheriff misconduct claims

Ariz. attorney general to look into sheriff misconduct claims

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by Jared Dillingham & The Associated Press

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on February 21, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 22 at 9:13 AM

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) -- An embattled Arizona sheriff says the state's top prosecutor has agreed to conduct a comprehensive independent investigation into allegations made against him and his office.

On Tuesday, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu asked the Gila County Sheriff's Office and County Attorney to look into claims made by a Mexican immigrant he once dated. 

Babeu says the two agencies don't have the resources to conduct the probe so Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has agreed to take it.

Babeu called Horne personally Tuesday night.

"I feel I'm the top law enforcement officer in the state and can't pass the buck.  So I'll do it," said Horne.

The decision came under immediate criticism, since Horne and Babeu are political allies.   Horne insists his office is capable of an impartial investigation.

"I've already recused myself," Horne said, "I wouldn't take part in any decision-making.  Someone else would be the final party on any decisions so no one would think politics were involved because Paul Babeu and I have been political supporters of each other."

Horne said his office will start discussing the scope of the investigation Wednesday.  He said it will, at least, look into claims that Babeu threatened to deport his ex boyfriend. 


Babeu is seeking the Republican nomination for a congressional seat. He has resigned from presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's Arizona committee amid the former campaign worker's allegations.
 
Babeu has denied claims he tried to threaten the man with deportation if their past relationship was made public.
 

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