FLORENCE, Ariz. — The former boyfriend of embattled Pinal County, Ariz. Sheriff Paul Babeu has filed a $1 million notice of claim against the sheriff and the county.
According to County Manager Fritz Behring, the notice of claim — filed on behalf of Jose Orozco — is a precursor to a lawsuit against Babeu and the county’s Board of Supervisors, reported the Arizona Republic.
In the state of Arizona, in order to file a civil lawsuit against a public entity or employee, a “notice of claim” must first be filed, and the resulting civil action must be filed within one year.
Babeu publicly came out as gay last month amid allegations that he threatened to have Orozco, a Mexican immigrant, deported after he refused to sign an agreement promising not to disclose details of their relationship.
Babeu, 43, confirmed that he did have a relationship with Orozco, but denied claims that he threatened him with deportation following their breakup. Babeu said now believes Jose is a legal citizen.
A former rising star in the Arizona Republican party, Babeu had been serving as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Arizona, and is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s fourth congressional district.
Orozco is a Mexican national who reportedly was a volunteer campaign worker in charge of managing Babeu’s campaign website and Twitter account. He is believed to be a legal immigrant in the U.S. on a tourist visa, which would prohibit him from such work, even if unpaid.
Babeu said he will remain a candidate for the U.S. Congress, and said he’ll be “a strong fiscal conservative,” but also will support pro-LGBT legislative measures.