Guest blogged by DES
The Hill reports today that defense attorneys for Congressman Rick Renzi (R-AZ) have filed a motion to dismiss 35 charges of corruption stemming from a sweetheart real estate deal, claiming the federal government secretly and illegally wiretapped Renzi's cell phone.
Ironically, Renzi appears to have been caught up in the very same warrantless wiretapping that he supported as a Congressman...
In one of many legal motions filed on Wednesday, Renzi’s lawyers stated, “The Justice Department recorded calls in which Congressman Renzi engaged in sensitive discussions concerning the leadership and direction of the House Republican Party with other members of Congress, including candidates for the leadership.”
[T]he Renzi legal motion states, “on April 19, 2007, during the Attorney General’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee hurriedly executed a search at Congressman’s Renzi’s family insurance business, without even signing the warrant papers…”
The lawmaker’s attorneys are calling on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to dismiss all the counts against the lawmaker for a variety of reasons, “including the government’s repeated, deliberate, and continuing violations of [the] Congressman’s attorney-client privilege.”
[T]he government initially indicated it would monitor only certain phone calls, according to Renzi.
Yet, Renzi’s motion claims, the government did not abide by that promise.
Of course Renzi's defense team will throw everything under the sun to get their client off the hook, but it is an example of a surveillance-happy Republican hoist on his own petard. Perhaps Renzi would like to go back in time to revise his many votes in favor of the Bush Administration's domestic surveillance activities.
Last week, more wiretapping abuses were revealed, as noted by Glenn Greenwald, and of course, widely ignored by the corporate broadcast media:
Faulk told Ross: "when one of my co-workers went to a supervisor and said: 'but sir, there are personal calls,' the supervisor said: 'my orders were to transcribe everything'." He said that the intercepted calls included highly personal and intimate conversations and even phone sex.
One final note: if broad, unchecked domestic spying powers led to "unintentional" wiretapping of the Republican Congressional leadership's strategy sessions in a case unrelated to their organizational planning, it does beg the question of how many secret wiretaps have led to surveillance on Democratic leadership strategy sessions.