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Rep. Paul Gosar calls on President Trump to pardon former Rep. Rick Renzi

Arizona Republic logo Arizona Republic 12/25/2020 Andrew Oxford, Arizona Republic
Paul Gosar wearing a suit and tie: U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., speaks during a Congressional Field Hearing on the Affordable Care Act in Apache Junction in December 2013. © Matt York/Associated Press U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., speaks during a Congressional Field Hearing on the Affordable Care Act in Apache Junction in December 2013.

Rep. Paul Gosar has renewed his call for President Donald Trump to pardon former Rep. Rick Renzi, who served three years in prison for racketeering, money laundering and other federal offenses.

Gosar’s push comes as the outgoing president uses the waning days of his administration to grant pardons to a cast of politicians and fixers, including his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and longtime GOP operative Roger Stone.

On Thursday, Gosar, R-Ariz., via Twitter argued “more pardons are needed” and reiterated his support for pardoning Renzi "as well as anyone indicted" with We Build The Wall, which he called "a clear political persecution."

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Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and three others were arrested earlier this year on fraud and money-laundering charges related to an effort to raise money for private border wall construction. 

“Our DOJ is corrupt and inept,” Gosar said in a tweet railing against the Department of Justice, which prosecuted Renzi.

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Renzi, a Republican, represented a congressional district that spanned northern and eastern Arizona from 2003 to 2009 but decided not to pursue a fourth term after a federal probe into a land swap led to his indictment in February 2008. Gosar initially joined Congress after winning the same House seat in 2010. 

"I am grateful to Congressman Gosar for his continued support and especially for the courage President Trump has shown in exposing the criminal actors within the Department of Justice," Renzi said Thursday in a written statement to The Arizona Republic. "Should the President choose to act on my behalf I would be forever thankful and would work hard to continue his legacy of revealing the corrupt, self-worshipping untouchables hidden within the dark corners of the DOJ."

Renzi was convicted in 2013 on 17 counts that stemmed from two criminal schemes, including extortion in a federal land-exchange proposal that he had threatened to block unless it included property owned by a business associate.

He also was convicted of misappropriating insurance premiums paid to his company, then funneling the money into his political campaign.

He got a three-year prison sentence, which was upheld on appeal.

Released in 2017, Renzi has since been pushing for a pardon from Trump.

In April 2019, Renzi asked the Department of Justice inspector general to have his record cleared, charging prosecutorial misconduct in his case.

And an organization he founded, Abuse of Power, released a slickly produced seven-minute video last year about Renzi’s fall that features Sidney Powell, who would go on to become a prominent lawyer in Trump’s efforts to challenge and try to overturn the results of this year's presidential election.

The video casts Renzi as the victim of a politically motivated prosecution.

“I never misused my public office. It’s a fabricated lie,” the ex-congressman says at one point.

Renzi's claims have echoed Trump's in some respects as the president has depicted probes into his administration and associates as politically motivated efforts by officials inside the Department of Justice.

Gosar’s office did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Contact Andrew Oxford at andrew.oxford@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @andrewboxford.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Rep. Paul Gosar calls on President Trump to pardon former Rep. Rick Renzi

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