Monday, November 2, 2015

Judge Unravels Illegal Activity by Prosecution That Ensured a Conviction of Rick Renzi  — But Will he Do Anything About it?

Last Monday, Federal District Court Judge David Bury held an evidentiary hearing in Tucson to consider new evidence that prosecutorial wrongdoing took place during the criminal prosecution of imprisoned former Congressman Rick Renzi. Specifically, the judge considered whether the the FBI had offered money to the one “victim” Renzi had allegedly extorted, to change his testimony and make it unfavorable toward Renzi in order to ensure a conviction. As the hearing was ending and the shocking bribery exposed, Judge Bury told chief DOJ prosecuting attorney Gary Restaino he wrongly violated Renzi’s rights.

Who is Restaino and why was he so intent on convicting Renzi that he would violate the law? His wife, Leezie Kim, worked closely for former Arizona Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, and Renzi had been rumored to be a potential contender against her for governor in 2006. In 2003, Kim took a sabbatical from Quarles Brady where she was an attorney to serve as the executive director of Napolitano’s Governor’s Citizens Finance Review Commission. She became the treasurer of Napolitano’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign and the treasurer of the Competitive Edge PAC in 2007, which was primarily started to support Napolitano.

Kim next became Napolitano’s general counsel in February 2008, and after Napolitano was confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security, joined her in Washington as a deputy general counsel. Kim left Washington in 2010 after news reports indicated that she was involved in efforts to limit responses to politically sensitive Freedom of Information Act requests. In addition to these active roles, Kim also donated $400 to the Arizona Democratic Party in 2005 and $928 to Democratic candidates in 2008.

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