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Paul Penzone files defamation suit against sheriff opponent Joe Arpaio

PHOENIX — Paul Penzone filed a defamation lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday over an attack ad that alleges Penzone assaulted his ex-wife.

“There has never been a time in my life where I have ever hurt or harmed anybody, including my ex-wife,” Penzone said during a press conference to announce the lawsuit.

The ad is based on a dispute between Penzone and his ex-wife, Susan Hubbard. Both Penzone and Hubbard sought an order of protection after the dispute, though the orders were later removed. Both have sworn that nothing occurred and that emotions simply ran high.

Arpaio’s ad minces no words and clearly states that “Penzone assaulted his ex-wife.”

“What is most personal is that you can pretend that it’s targeting me, but it’s not,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos after announcing the suit. “It’s targeted at those I love most.”

However, an attorney for Arpaio said Penzone’s attorneys were informed of the ad and its content prior to its release. They were told to notify Arpaio’s campaign of any falsities in the ad and never received a response.

Penzone told Mac & Gaydos that claim was untrue.

Arpaio’s attorney said the ad was based on public records and was reviewed for accuracy prior to being released.

Penzone said the ad is one of “one of the most unethical and irresponsible” things Arpaio has done in his political career.

The lawsuit names Arpaio as the defendant. If he loses the suit, he will be made to pay damages from his own pocket, Holland said.

Arpaio’s attorney said Arpaio would file a counterclaim against Penzone. His campaign spokesman, Chad Williams, also joined Mac & Gaydos.

Prior to the suit being filed, KTAR legal analyst Monica Lindstrom wrote that Penzone’s suit will likely seek a court injunction to pull the commercial from television, but he would first have to prove it is defamatory, was inspired by malicious intent and damages are deserved.

Penzone told Mac & Gaydos that the lawsuit is about defending his character.

(Editor’s note: Penzone has been a contributor to and a frequent guest on the air.)

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