- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the convictions of former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi on corruption, money laundering and other charges, rejecting his claim that there wasn’t enough evidence to support some of the allegations.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also declined to throw out Renzi’s three-year prison sentence and conviction after his lawyers argued that prosecutors had violated a clause of the U.S. Constitution that grants members of Congress protection for their legislative acts.

“Former Congressman Renzi abused the trust of this nation, and for doing so, he was convicted by a jury of his peers,” the court wrote.

Renzi was convicted of conspiring to use his government post to make two companies buy land owned by his former business associate so that the associate could repay a debt he owed to the congressman.

The Republican represented Arizona’s sprawling 1st Congressional District from 2003 until early 2009. He chose not to run for re-election in 2008 while facing the federal indictment.

The district runs from the Arizona-Utah border to suburban Tucson.

The appeals court previously allowed Renzi to remain free while he appealed his conviction. It was unclear when he will start serving his sentence and whether he will appeal further.

A statement released by Renzi’s legal team says the former congressman intends to keep pushing his appeals. “We are disappointed with the court’s ruling,” the team said.

A jury in Tucson convicted Renzi last year on 17 of 32 counts, including wire fraud, extortion and racketeering.

Prosecutors said Renzi looted a family insurance business to help pay for his 2002 campaign, but he wasn’t convicted of illegally using money from the firm. The jury did find, however, that he filed a false statement with regulators after failing to use premiums collected from nonprofit groups to buy policies.

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