Feathered Bastard

Jeff Flake's Son, Daughter-in-Law Going After Arpaio, County for $8 Million

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In December, multiple felony indictments against the Hugheses and the Flakes were dismissed by County Attorney Bill Montgomery after the Flakes' lawyers, Dennis Wilenchik and his son Jack, sought a remand to the grand jury, revealing that the lead MCSO detective may have lied under oath to grand jurors about the case.

The Hugheses still face one felony count each for fraud.

Montgomery later stated during a press conference that if the county had not dismissed the animal cruelty charges, the judge would have sent the case back to the grand jury, which then would have delivered "no true bill."

The notice of claim, which operates as a prelude to a lawsuit, reads like an indictment of Arpaio and his deputies, and details the "malicious investigation and prosecution" of the Flake couple.

This is somewhat astounding, considering that the lawyer who signed it, Dennis Wilenchik, once was Arpaio's ally.

Read the Flakes' $8 million notice of claim against the county, the MCSO and Sheriff Joe.

Judging from passages such as this, he is now the sheriff's deadly enemy:

Sheriff's deputies knew from the outset that the air conditioning [at Green Acre] had gone out unexpectedly in the middle of the night and originally dubbed the incident an accident. The critical proof of a felony -- intent to harm the animals -- was clearly missing.

The Sheriff was undeterred by the facts, however, and after conducting a rigged investigation, sent his detective in to lie to the grand jury. When all of this was brought to prosecutors' attention, they were ethically obligated to dismiss the Indictment. The Flakes' legal claims include violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; malicious prosecution; conspiracy; abuse of process; negligence/gross negligence; defamation; false light invasion of privacy; and intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Wilenchik methodically reviews the evidence in the case, pointing out that by putting 28 dogs in that room on the night in question, the Flakes were following the instructions given to them by the Hughes couple. They were doing what had been done on countless nights before, with the same number or more dogs, with no harm to the animals.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons