U.S. court lets convicted ex-Arizona congressman remain free on appeal

By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday that former U.S. Representative Richard Renzi of Arizona will not have to report to prison to serve a three-year sentence while he challenges his conviction on fraud, extortion and money laundering charges. A three-term Republican, 55-year-old Renzi was convicted in June of 17 felony counts and acquitted of 15 other charges in a high-profile public corruption case stemming from a land swap while he was in office. A three-member panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Renzi, who represented Arizona’s 1st congressional district from January 2003 until he left office in 2009, had presented “clear and convincing evidence” that he should remain free on bail pending his appeal. The panel also ruled that Renzi’s appeal, which centers on a variety of testimony that was allowed to be used in the trial, raised “a substantial question” that could result in a reversal of his conviction last year or possibly lead to a new trial.

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