The Flake family has it out for Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
A civil trial set to begin on Tuesday will focus on the former Maricopa County Sheriff’s 2014 investigation into the son of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for his involvement in the deaths of 21 dogs.
Austin Flake and his ex-wife Logan Brown became the subject of Arpaio’s sleuthing when the group of dogs died of heat-exhaustion on their watch, AP reports.
While out of town in Florida, the younger Flake’s in-laws asked him and his wife to supervise a kennel they operate. But the dogs tragically died when the air conditioner failed in the small room whre they slept.
Prosecutors dismissed the case against the Flakes, although the owners of the kennel ultimately pleaded guilty to animal cruelty when it was revealed that the AC unit failed due to improper maintenance.
Arpaio worked on the case, performing surveillance on Sen. Flake’s home and examining his phone records to determine whether Austin Flake called his father during the time when he watched the dogs.
But the Flakes allege the Sheriff’s investigation was politically motivated, with the intention of tarnishing the Senator’s reputation by linking him to the horrible incident.
According to the Austin Flake’s lawyers, Arpaio was upset with Sen. Flake for publicly opposing his illegal immigration crackdowns, as well as his investigations into Barack Obama’s birth record.
Austin Flake’s legal team said that Arpaio’s investigation emotionally devastated the young couple, contributing to their eventual divorce. The younger Flake also said the incident provoked his suspension from the college he attended.
In a notice of claim–a precursor to a lawsuit–Flake and his former wife sought $4 million, suggesting their lawsuit may demand a similar figure.
Arpaio has been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and the two men share a hard-lined stance on the issue of illegal immigration.
Sen. Flake has been an outspoken critic of President Trump as well as Sheriff Arpaio. When President Trump pardoned Arpaio for a contempt of court charge relate to his immigration enforcement, Flake expressed disapproval.
Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 26, 2017
Flake also excoriated the President in a recent speech, calling him “reckless, outrageous, and undignified.” In the same speech, the Arizona Senator announced he will be retiring upon the completition of his current term.
President Trump has lashed out at Flake on several occasions, mocking his low approval numbers.
Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls) was caught (purposely) on “mike” saying bad things about your favorite President. He’ll be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is “toast.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
Arpaio has hinted at running for Flake’s senate seat.