Arizona

Aug 22, 2012 9:46 AM by Associated Press

Pinal legal fees near $150,000 in sheriff probes

PHOENIX (AP) - Pinal County taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $150,000 in legal fees related to three separate inquiries of Sheriff Paul Babeu or his staff.

The county hired outside lawyers to help its in-house counsel respond to the investigations and numerous public records requests asking for documents related to the probes.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating possible violations by Babeu and his top aides of the Hatch Act. That federal law makes it illegal for certain government workers to participate in political activities.

The state solicitor general is also looking into abuse-of-power allegations made against the sheriff by a former boyfriend.

An Arizona Republic report (http://bit.ly/MMv1TL) says a third inquiry looking at whether one of Babeu's top aides destroyed public records ended last month without charges.

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