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From left to right, WND’s Jerome Corsi, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Surprise, Ariz., tea-party leaders Julie Wise, Jim Wise and Jeff Lichter

MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. – At the request of tea-party leaders in Arizona, famed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has agreed to examine evidence challenging the validity of Barack Obama’s purported long-form birth certificate in a determination of the president’s eligibility for the 2012 election ballot.

Tea party leaders in Surprise, Ariz., met with Arpaio and WND senior reporter Jerome Corsi Thursday morning to express concern that a fake birth certificate would be used to document the president’s eligibility to run in Maricopa County, where Arpaio is the chief law-enforcement officer.

Arpaio’s tough crackdown on illegal immigration has made him a national figure.

At a one-hour meeting in Arpaio’s office, the tea-party leaders presented the sheriff with a petition that was drafted after a speech by Corsi the previous night. Corsi, author of a best-selling book challenging Obama’s eligibility,
“Where’s the Birth Certificate?”
, presented evidence from numerous computer-imaging specialists who believe the document presented by the White House April 27 is not authentic.

Arpaio explained in a statement that he has agreed to “simply look at the evidence these people have assembled and examine whether it is within my jurisdiction to investigate the document’s authenticity.”

“I indicated in this meeting that I will also consider whether there is a more appropriate Arizona agency to determine the document’s veracity and ultimately whether the president’s name can lawfully be entered onto the 2012 election ballot,” Arapaio said.

Autographed copies of Jerome Corsi’s “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” are available only from the WND Superstore

At a gathering Wednesday night of more than 325 people, sponsored by the Surprise Tea Party Patriots of Surprise, Ariz., and the Liberty Through Action organization, 242 signatures were gathered on the petition, which requested that Arpaio begin a criminal investigation.

The petition calls for the sheriff to investigate the possibility that a crime has been committed against the Arizona secretary of state, who must decide whether to put Obama’s name on the ballot.

From left to right, WND’s Jerome Corsi, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Surprise, Ariz.,
tea party leaders Brian and Denise Reilly

Arpaio told the tea-party leaders that he expects political pressure, but he pointed out
that as the chief law enforcement officer of Maricopa County, he’s taken an
oath to respond to citizens who approach him about enforcing the law.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Justin Griffin confirmed to WND that Arpaio is “waiting to receive all the documentation and all the investigative material from Dr. Jerry Corsi, and then he will look into the matter and compare it to the Arizona revised statutes.”

The petition states:

We the undersigned citizens are respectfully requesting that you initiate a criminal investigation under the authority of A.R.S. 13-2407 A-C, Into the alleged Certificate of Live Birth, File Number 151 61 10641, State of Hawaii, for Barack H. Obama II. The document was released on April 27, 2011, by the White House to the press and posted on the White House website and distributed and downloaded by computer throughout the nation, including within Maricopa County. Reportedly, several experts have declared the document to be a forgery. Reportedly, the file number may be out of sequence; “THE” appears to be misspelled as “TXE” in the State Registrar’s stamp; there appears to be a “smiley face” in the “A” in the Alvin T. Onaka, State Registrar stamp; reportedly the document has computer generated, multiple layers and is not a copy of a single layered document; font types appear to vary throughout the document, reportedly, not possible with a vintage 1961 mechanical typewriter. We urge you to continue to support the Rule of Law and to investigate and determine whether the alleged Certificate of Live Birth, for Barack H. Obama II, File Number 151 61 10641, is a forgery or an authentic document. A.R.S. 13-2407 A-C, declares that tampering with a public record is a class 6 felony.

“I think what we’ve seen is history created today,” said Surprise tea-party leader Brian Reilly. “This is probably the first time in this country that citizens have gone to a sheriff over a national issue.”

Reilly said he’s “extremely grateful” that Arpaio will look into the matter is “hopeful that this will achieve what we’re expecting to achieve on this issue, which is the truth.”

“We’re trying to get to the truth,” he emphasized.

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