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Ex-Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi Among Last-Minute Trump Pardons

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As one of his last official acts as president, Donald Trump issued a wave of pardons that included former Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi. The Republican served three years in federal prison on nearly 20 charges. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Renzi was convicted in 2013 of racketeering, money laundering, extortion and other crimes. Some of the charges were connected to the controversial federal land exchange of Oak Flat on the Tonto National Forest while he held office.

Renzi represented Arizona’s First Congressional District, which includes Flagstaff, for three terms until 2009 when he declined to run again because of the federal indictment.

Arizona Republican Congressman and Trump ally Paul Gosar had lobbied the former president to pardon Renzi. Gosar claims prosecutors fabricated evidence, but a court upheld Renzi’s prison sentence on appeal.

Renzi was among more than 70 people pardoned by Trump during his final hours in office. They also included fellow Arizonan Scott Conor Crosby who was convicted of bank robbery in 1992 and Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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