Candidate for sheriff accuses Arpaio, media of defamation

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Paul Penzone, a former Phoenix police officer, and his legal team say a TV spot the Arpaio campaign ran in 2012 was misleading and inaccurate because it left out key details. (KPHO/KTVK) Paul Penzone, a former Phoenix police officer, and his legal team say a TV spot the Arpaio campaign ran in 2012 was misleading and inaccurate because it left out key details. (KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A candidate for Maricopa County sheriff threatened Tuesday to slap the media and incumbent Sheriff Joe Arpaio with a defamation lawsuit if they re-air a brutal 2012 attack ad.

Four years ago Arpaio ran a hard-hitting 30-second commercial rehashing a 2003 allegation of domestic violence against his Democratic opponent, Paul Penzone.

Penzone, a former Phoenix police officer, and his legal team say the TV spot was misleading and inaccurate because it left out key details.

For example, it never mentioned prosecutors declined to press charges. It also never said that he reported the incident to authorities and was listed as a victim in the case.

To bolster his claim, Penzone and his attorney on Tuesday released an affidavit signed by Penzone's now ex-wife that the commercial was deceptive. 

Still, Penzone expressed doubts that Arpaio will change his campaign tactics.

"I can control who I am and how I respond, that is entirely up to the sheriff," Penzone said.

Arpaio's campaign showed no signs of backing away.

"If Paul Penzone wants to remind voters of his history of domestic violence, that's fine with us," Arpaio's campaign manager, Chad Willems, said in a statement. "The ad that ran four years ago is based on facts from court records."

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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