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Indicted Arizona congressman says he won't resign

  • Story Highlights
  • Arizona GOP Rep. Rick Renzi vows not to resign despite indictment
  • Renzi received $733,000 in land swap deal, federal prosecutors say
  • Prosecutors say Renzi didn't report income to Congress
  • Renzi's attorneys insist client did nothing wrong
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(CNN) -- Republican Congressman Rick Renzi of Arizona said Monday that he will not step down after recently being indicted.

Rep. Rick Renzi, shown here in Baghdad, Iraq, in April 2007, has denied any wrongdoing.

"I will not resign and take on the cloak of guilt, because I am innocent," Renzi said in a statement.

A grand jury in Arizona indicted Renzi on charges that he promised to support legislation in exchange for a land deal that netted him more than $700,000, the Justice Department says.

In a 35-count indictment, Renzi is charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion, insurance fraud and other counts.

Federal prosecutors say the 49-year-old received $733,000 in the deal but did not disclose the income to Congress in his 2005 financial disclosure statement.

James W. Sandlin, 56, of Sherman, Texas, who is Renzi's former business partner and real estate investor, and Andrew Beardall, 36, of Rockville, Maryland were also named in the indictment.

U.S. Attorney Diane Humetewa said last week that Renzi "used his official authority as a United States representative" to ensure that the 2005 federal land exchange included land owned by Sandlin.

The indictment also states another goal of the conspiracy was to conceal that Renzi received a portion of the proceeds from the deal.

Renzi's attorneys have said that he "did nothing wrong" and that they "will fight these charges until he is vindicated and his family's name is restored."

Renzi, a three-term member of the House, announced in August that he would not seek re-election. He represents Arizona's 1st Congressional District.

If convicted, Renzi could face up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and extortion and 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering and concealing money laundering as well as lesser sentences for convictions on the other counts. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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