UPDATE: Federal magistrate to hear Renzi pretrial motions

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azfamily.com

In court today

UPDATE: Thursday, Dec. 4

TUCSON -- Defense lawyers and prosecutors battle in federal court Thursday in Tucson over pretrial motions seeking to dismiss charges against a retiring congressman.

Lawyers for Rep. Rick Renzi plan to ask U.S. Magistrate Bernardo Velasco to dismiss a 44-count indictment against the three-term Republican congressman from Arizona's 1st District, who did not seek re-election last month.

Defense lawyers contend that the Justice Department violated the speech or debate clause of the U.S. Constitution, which grants members of Congress protections for their legislative acts.

Renzi is accused of engineering a swap of federally owned mining land to benefit himself and a former business partner. Among other charges, he's also accused of with misappropriating premiums from clients of his insurance company.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

More charges and new co-defendant in Renzi case

TUCSON - A racketeering charge and other counts have been added to an indictment against Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi.

The indictment made public on Thursday also adds another defendant in the case against Renzi, who will leave Congress when his current term expires.

Renzi, a Republican who has represented the 1st Congressional District in northern and eastern Arizona for three terms, was first indicted by a federal grand jury in February.

Among other things, Renzi was originally charged with engineering a swap of federally owned mining land to benefit himself and a former business partner.

Renzi has previously pleaded not guilty to the original charges.