Justice Department prosecutors cannot use evidence from a wiretap in the public corruption prosecution of former Republican Rep. Rick Renzi, a federal judge in Arizona ruled last week.
A magistrate judge found in March that prosecutors had recorded privileged calls between Renzi, who is charged in an insurance fraud scheme, and his lawyers. The judge then suppressed all evidence prosecutors collected from the wiretap.
The government appealed, arguing that only the privileged calls should be dismissed, but U.S. District Judge David Bury rejected that argument in an opinion.
“The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that by recording attorney-client privileged conversations the Government seized evidence beyond that authorized by the wiretap, which required such evidence to be minimized, and that by this conduct the Government acted unreasonably in executing the wiretap,” Bury wrote in his opinion, dated Wednesday.
“The Government’s conduct, in its totality, warrants a more significant sanction than just suppressing the privileged evidence. The Court suppresses the wiretap.”
Read Legal Times on the opinion here.