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.
Saturday, April 12 2014 6:07 AM EDT2014-04-12 10:07:09 GMT
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral. A mother humpback whale and her calf were cruising just offshore when a set rolled in. J.T. Gray of NorthMore >
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-04-16 18:52:38 GMT
Portland's newest bridge now has a name. TriMet announced Wednesday that the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Bridge will be called Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People. A bridge naming committeeMore >
TriMet announced Wednesday that the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Bridge will be called Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People.More >
Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-04-16 02:46:24 GMT
Police have identified the two people found dead in Portland-area rivers on Monday. The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office River Patrol Unit headed toward Sauvie Island at 1:15 p.m. after getting wordMore >
Police have identified the two people found dead in Portland-area rivers on Monday, both had previously been reported missing.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:51 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:51:53 GMT
A Portland police officer was wounded and his K-9 partner is missing following a shootout with a suspect in southwest Portland.The officer survived the shooting and he's in "very good spirits" while recoveringMore >
An officer was shot in the legs and his K-9 partner was killed during a confrontation with a burglary suspect in Portland. More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:42:32 GMT
A dead, decomposing 40-foot gray whale washed ashore in the Oregon Coast town of Seaside on Tuesday morning, and marine experts advise staying away from the massive carcass because it's "really nasty."KeithMore >
Experts advise keeping your dog on a leash while at the beach in Seaside, mainly because dealing with your pet after it rolls around in a dead whale would be a "horrible way to spend your vacation."More >
A pair of sex trafficking suspects are accused of ramming into two patrol cars and driving through a fence in Aloha. The situation began before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police were following a man and a womanMore >
Police were following a man and a woman in a car as part of a sex trafficking investigation. Officers said the suspects had dropped off a 17-year-old girl at a hotel.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-04-16 13:53:03 GMT
Veterinarians are concerned about a chew toy that seems to be gaining in popularity. Antlers, from deer and other animals, are products that some rave about, but they are leading to fractured teeth.More >
Veterinarians are concerned about a chew toy that seems to be gaining in popularity. Antlers, from deer and other animals, are products that some rave about, but they are leading to fractured teeth in some dogs.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:00:28 GMT
A Mount Tabor reservoir that holds Portland's drinking water has been taken offline out of fear that a group of trespassers urinated in it. Five people were seen at Mount Tabor Park around 1 a.m. Wednesday.More >
A Mount Tabor reservoir that holds Portland's drinking water has been taken offline after a teenager urinated in the reservoir. More >
Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:20 PM EDT2014-04-16 02:20:20 GMT
A 73-year-old woman trapped in her own home because of the actions of a thief can now go outside again thanks to the work of her new hero. Fox 12 first talked to Norma Cakebread last week. Someone stoleMore >
A 73-year-old woman trapped in her own home because of the actions of a thief can now go outside again thanks to the work of her new hero.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 4:26 PM EDT2014-04-16 20:26:07 GMT
A kindergartner brought bullets on a school bus, according to the Camas School District. The driver of the bus on the Prune Hill Elementary route was alerted to the situation at 4 p.m. Tuesday. AdministratorsMore >
A kindergartner brought bullets on a school bus, according to the Camas School District.More >