You may have heard that José Orozco, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's ex-lover, has filed a claim against Babeu and the county.

The claim, attached here, has a few interesting new details. The one that jumped out at me is an apparent Jan. 11, 2012 email from Babeu's attorney and campaign consultant, Chris DeRose, to Orozco's attorney.

In it, DeRose accuses Orozco of posting a comment about Babeu on Jan. 7 at the Chino Valley eNews website. The text of the comment:

"This guy portraits himself as a public service helper, as hero. The facts are his own speech and a microphone. he makes false statements and alter statistics. The real paul babeu is the one who had a profile on advertising for sex with photos t-shirtless and dirty conversations with gays. For all conservatives, being gay is a big issue, but having a weird sexual behavior with young males and dishonest is a really big trouble for this superstar."

In DeRose's initial response to the Phoenix New Times story revealing the conflict between Babeu and Orozco, DeRose said Babeu was simply trying to stop Orozco's sabotage of the campaign website, Twitter account and Pyrix account. The email included in the claim, though, suggests that Babeu's side was also concerned with online comments that Orozco allegedly posted about Babeu's alleged sex life.

This would fit a pattern, as I reported Sunday. In late 2010, two Apache Junction news sites received cease-and-desist letters from form Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods on Babeu's behalf. One editor, Ed Barker, told me the letter said "that I was printing blogs from Babeu's sister about his gay lifestyle, and that I was to immediately cease and desist."

While many have pointed out that Babeu's sexual orientation was well-known to reporters and politicians throughout Arizona, Babeu made it clear in his Feb. 18 press conference (video here) that he still considered it secret.

"This is my private life, but now it’s not so private any longer," Babeu said.

He went on, "It’s very difficult and liberating at the same time. This is where I’m not going to live in fear. I’m not going to live with the threats."

I've asked DeRose for a comment on the claim and this particular detail. I'll post it if I get one.

A claim like this, you should know, is a required precursor to a lawsuit against a government entity. Orozco's attorney asks here for $1 million, but that's just a figure thrown out to start possible settlement discussions with the county.