An extortion indictment against former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) should not be thrown out because of concerns over the constitutional separation of powers, federal prosecutors told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
While Renzi’s case has yet to go to court, his lawyers have argued that the indictment violates the speech clause of the Constitution because prosecutors from the executive branch are intruding on Renzi’s “legislative acts” reports David Ingram of the National Law Journal.
Justice Department lawyers said in a filing last week that the indictment should hold up and that Renzi’s lawyers have a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the protections of the speech or debate clause. Renzi’s lawyers, however, have the support of lawyers for the U.S. House of Representatives.
In June, an Arizona judge threw out all evidence resulting from a government wiretap in the corruption case against Renzi.
The indictment against Renzi from February 2008 include charges of extortion, money laundering, wire fraud and embezzlement. Check out all of TPMMuckraker’s coverage of Renzi.