Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Probe proves Obama birth certificate is fake
by Megan Cassidy
USA TODAY NETWORK
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says a new video analysis shows that parts of Obama’s birth certificate were copied from another certificate. After arguing his point for five years, Arpaio says he will turn this new evidence over to the fed. USA TODAY
PHOENIX — It was a presentation hyped by a tauntingly brief media notification more than 24 hours earlier: On Thursday afternoon [December 15, 2016], it said, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio would present the newest revelations on an investigation into President Obama’s birth certificate.
At 4 p.m. sharp, Arpaio and a member of his Sheriff’s Office’s Cold Case Posse had a big message for the 40-odd journalists in attendance: You were wrong.
Arpaio and his aides announced that a five-year investigation had proved that Obama’s birth certificate from Hawaii in 1961 was a fake. An accompanying presentation highlighted what they called “9 points of forgery” on the document, which focused on the angles of date stamps, typed letters and words.
According to the theory, the birth certificate presented to the public was created after copying and pasting information from the legitimate birth certificate of a woman born in Hawaii.
The conference included an audience of mostly older supporters, many of whom would clap their hands or nod their heads at various points of the event.
Mike Zullo, a posse member, talked throughout the bulk of the news conference, and for about 50 minutes walked the audience through what he claimed was irrefutable proof that the birth certificate had been forged.
Zullo repeatedly insisted that the probe was not political and that he simply wanted to “clear” the president of the United States.
“It didn’t work out that way,” he said.
ARPAIO, TRUMP ONCE ALIGNED ON ‘BIRTHER’ ISSUE
Arpaio’s focus on the outgoing president has spanned several years. Obama was a favorite subject in Arpaio’s fundraiser emails, speeches and campaign ads, and the president was blamed for the lawman’s civil rights-related legal battles.
Arpaio’s persistence on the “birther” issues has outlived that of many other once-fervent supporters.
President-elect Donald Trump had been a leader of the movement to prove Obama was not a natural-born citizen and was therefore not eligible for the nation’s highest office. After years of persistent questioning — seen by many as racially motivated — the president produced his long-form birth certificate in April 2011.
In September, Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, announced he was dropping the issue.
Obama responded in a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: “I don’t know about you guys, but I am so relieved that the whole birther thing is over. I mean, ISIL, North Korea, poverty, climate change — none of those things weighed on my mind like the validity of my birth certificate.”
PROBE LAUNCHED BY POSSE MEMBERS
The Sheriff’s Office’s own “birther” investigation dates to August 2011, months after the White House website posted an image of Obama’s birth certificate. The probe was led by the Sheriff’s Office’s Cold Case Posse, a non-profit arm of the office made up of often-retired volunteers.
Thursday’s news conference recalled two other “birther” news conferences from 2012.
At those events, no one explicitly claimed the birth certificate was a fake. They were instead fueled by innuendo, the suspicions of volunteers, and a throng of impassioned “tea party” supporters.
In March 2012, Zullo spent 50 minutes walking the media through what he said were irregularities in the White House’s posted document.
Sherriff’s Posse member Paul Adams (left) and Sheriff Joe Arpaio are seen before a Dec. 15, 2016, press conference in Phoenix about their investigation into President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. David Wallace/The Republic
Zullo had a repeat performance in July of that year, when he explained the investigators’ findings after a 10-day trip to Hawaii. At that event, Zullo said investigators located a 95-year-old woman who might have written coding on the copy of Obama’s birth certificate. That woman, Zullo said, later told a fake reporter that the numbers on Obama’s birth certificate were inconsistent with the time and place of his birth.
Zulllo has surfaced in more recent Arpaio controversies as well. He was one of the key figures in what’s known as the “Seattle Operation” — a pet project of Arpaio’s that became a focal point during the sheriff’s contempt-of-court hearings last year.
Zullo’s task was to keep an eye on a computer programmer named Dennis Montgomery, who had told Arpaio he could prove the federal government had hacked into the bank accounts of thousands of Maricopa County residents.
Montgomery’s work soon seemed to stray from that mission, however. In reports provided to the Sheriff’s Office, Montgomery presents a web of conspiracies involving a federal judge presiding over a racial-profiling case against Arpaio, along with Eric Holder and various other federal officials. Arpaio’s critics said the operation was a thinly veiled attempt to undermine a judge who had ruled unfavorably against the sheriff.