Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s son Austin testified Wednesday he was “terrified of what was going to come” as former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio pursued what he says were politically motivated charges against him.
Austin Flake said he lost faith in the criminal justice system due to Arpaio’s pursuit of an animal cruelty case against him and his ex-wife Logan Brown, AZ Central reported.
“My belief in the justice system fell apart,” Flake testified. “I was terrified of what was going to come.”
Flake has alleged that Arpaio’s pursuit of charges against him and Brown in the death of 21 dogs in a kennel Brown’s parents managed was politically motivated.
Flake’s father supported comprehensive immigration reform, while Arpaio was a hardliner when it came to cracking down on undocumented immigrants.
Flake said he received death threats in response to the charges and the case ruined his marriage.
In 2014, Arpaio held a news conference saying Flake and Brown would be held responsible for the deaths of the dogs. Prior to that, Flake and Brown’s names had not been revealed.
“I was afraid [for] my liberty, life and justice overall,” Flake testified Wednesday.
Arpaio and the sheriff’s office also sent letters to Brigham Young University, where Flake was a student at the time, saying he should be expelled. In response, Flake was barred from taking classes until charges were eventually dropped.
Flake said he suffers from anxiety and cycled through six types of antidepressants.
He also said Brown suffered panic attacks during the investigation and the stress led to constantly fighting.
“Things just got to a point where we were bringing out the worst in each other. ... We couldn’t get on any grounds to make it work,” he said.
Flake’s father, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, announced earlier this year he would not run for re-election.
Arpaio was a vocal supporter of Trump and was eventually pardoned by the president for a contempt of court conviction for refusing to obey a court order to end a patrol that targeted immigrants.