Arpaio being sued for allegedly pursuing case trying to do political damage to Flake: report

Arpaio being sued for allegedly pursuing case trying to do political damage to Flake: report
© Greg Nash

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an ally of President Trump, is reportedly being sued for allegedly pursuing a case meant to hurt Arizona Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeVoters will punish Congress for ignoring duty on war and peace GOP Senate candidate truncates Trump tweet in campaign mailer GOP senator reviving effort to rein in Trump on tariffs MORE (R), one of Trump's most vocal GOP critics.

The Associated Press reported Friday that Austin Flake, one of the retiring senator's sons, filed the malicious-prosecution lawsuit, which will go to trial on Dec. 5, claiming Arpaio pursued felony animal cruelty charges against him and his then-wife in an effort to hurt his father politically.

In June 2014, Austin Flake and his wife were charged in a case relating to the deaths of 21 dogs. The dogs reportedly died when the air conditioning in the room they were staying in stopped working. Austin Flake and his wife were watching the dogs at a kennel operated by his in-laws, who were out of town.

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According to the AP, the case against Austin Flake and his wife was dismissed. The owners of the kennel pleaded guilty in a case claiming the air conditioner in the room wasn't maintained.

The lawsuit being filed against Arpaio claims that the former sheriff wanted to tie the Flakes to the animal cruelty case.

“I am going by what my detectives accomplished during their investigation,” Arpaio said during a July 2016 deposition.

“They had the nuts and bolts already. I defend my people. I have confidence in them. I don’t have to know everything that’s going on.”

An attorney representing Flake and his former wife said the case "splashed their names across the internet as the murderers of 21 dogs."

"It really ravaged them emotionally," attorney Stephen Montoya said.

Arpaio, who served as sheriff in Maricopa County, Ariz., for more than two decades before he lost his reelection bid last year, was convicted earlier this year of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge's order to halt his office's racial profiling practices.

Trump gave Arpaio a pardon, the first of his presidency, in August.

Jeff Flake last month announced that he would not be running for reelection to the Senate next year in a floor speech highly critical of Trump and his administration.