Renzi Seeks Delay in Corruption Trial

Posted March 28, 2008 at 10:33am

Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) is asking a federal court to delay his corruption trial, arguing that it is a complex case involving a variety of legal issues.

After the Justice Department filed a 35-count indictment against Renzi in February, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona set a trial date of April 29. The indictment alleges that Renzi offered to support legislation for a mining company in exchange for the company buying property from Renzi’s former business partner, who owed the Congressman hundreds of thousands of dollars. The government also alleges that Renzi skimmed money from his family’s insurance business to fill his campaign coffers. Renzi has denied all the charges, and entered a plea of not guilty.

But in a motion filed Wednesday, Renzi’s attorneys argued that the government will be required to provide the defense with substantial amounts of evidence, including wiretap recordings, but none of this material “has yet been produced, and it appears unlikely that all discovery will be provided prior to the current trial date.”

In addition, the attorneys point out, “since the allegations that form the basis of the public corruption counts involve the actions of a sitting Congressman related to proposed legislative acts, Congressman Renzi anticipates complex motions” related to the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution.

Renzi’s defense team asserts that the government and the other defendants have not opposed the motion, and seek a status conference within 21 days to establish a timetable for the trial.

— Paul Singer