Inside Arpaio's birther investigation - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Inside Arpaio's birther investigation

PHOENIX (CBS5) -

In August of last year, a conspiracy theory peddler named Jerry Corsi gave a presentation to the Surprise, AZ Tea Party. That speech set in motion a series of events that would lead to the self-proclaimed "Toughest Sheriff in America" calling President Barack Obama's birth certificate a fake.

At Corsi's urging, the Surprise Tea Party created a petition, demanding that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigate the president's birth certificate. It's an issue Corsi was familiar with. He's been pushing the idea that Obama is not a US citizen for years.

Corsi is a contributor to and editor of the website WorldNetDaily, which is known for publishing conservative-leaning conspiracy theories. They have included:

  • The idea that Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh had connections to middle eastern terrorists;
  • That TWA Flight 800 was destroyed by terrorists and covered up by the Clinton administration;
  • And lately, that Obama's birth certificate is a fake.

Corsi came under considerable criticism when he argued that the official story of what brought down the World Trade Centers was a cover up.

In the meantime, Arpaio assigned the birth certificate investigation to his Cold Case Posse and despite Corsi's past, promptly added him to the team.

The other main member of the Cold Case Posse is its director, a former police officer from New Jersey named Mike Zullo. He and Corsi have since teamed up to sell the results of their investigation as a book, available for purchase online.

Arpaio defended his investigators during an afternoon news conference, arguing that their past and potential profit motive did not interfere with their work.

"Look at the evidence and forget who's in bed with who," Arpaio said.

Zullo denied that money was a motivating factor for his involvement in the case.

"I didn't make anything on that book," said Zullo, although he later admitted that he had received checks totaling $1,350 from the publisher.

Zullo said he donated the money to his church.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5   (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Graco to recall 25,000 child car seats

    Graco to recall 25,000 child car seats

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 6:29 AM EDT2017-05-24 10:29:58 GMT
    Wednesday, May 24 2017 6:44 AM EDT2017-05-24 10:44:36 GMT

    The seat webbing may tear, not adequately restraining the child in a crash, according to testing by the Naitonal Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

    More >>

    The seat webbing may tear, not adequately restraining the child in a crash, according to testing by the Naitonal Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

    More >>
  • Pregnant teen blocked from walking at graduation

    Pregnant teen blocked from walking at graduation

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 2:45 AM EDT2017-05-24 06:45:22 GMT
    Wednesday, May 24 2017 2:45 AM EDT2017-05-24 06:45:22 GMT

    The school principal says the student and her parents signed a covenant, vowing the teen wouldn’t have sex.

    More >>

    The school principal says the student and her parents signed a covenant, vowing the teen wouldn’t have sex.

    More >>
  • Arrests made after fight between teacher, staff member caught on video

    Arrests made after fight between teacher, staff member caught on video

    Monday, May 22 2017 11:50 PM EDT2017-05-23 03:50:23 GMT
    Wednesday, May 24 2017 8:13 AM EDT2017-05-24 12:13:17 GMT

    Middle school students screamed in science class as a teacher and a staff member got into a fist fight right in front of their desks and police have arrested the two involved.

    More >>

    Middle school students screamed in science class as a teacher and a staff member got into a fist fight right in front of their desks and police have arrested the two involved.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly