Prosecutors want secrecy in Arredondo extortion case to protect other investigations - East Valley Tribune: Tempe

Prosecutors want secrecy in Arredondo extortion case to protect other investigations

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Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2012 2:24 pm

The U.S. Department of Justice will keep evidence against indicted Tempe lawmaker Ben Arredondo secret to protect other ongoing investigations underway by its Public Integrity Section.

Prosecutors filed a motion with the U.S. District Court to have a judge place a protective order on all materials in the sting that led to Arredondo’s May 16 indictment. The DOJ document, filed Wednesday, said Arredondo’s attorney didn’t object.

Prosecutors said they had amassed “a large amount of material” with sensitive information to ongoing and closed investigations.

“If this information were to be publically disclosed, such disclosure might impede those investigations which are ongoing and/or impair the privacy rights of third parties whose conduct is or was at one time under investigation,” prosecutors wrote to the court.

Under the motion, Arredondo and his legal team would have access to the information to mount a defense but could not share that information with others.

While the motion referenced other investigations, it did not suggest any further information about why the FBI came to investigate Arredondo or the scope of its case.

Arredondo was indicted on charges of bribery, extortion, mail fraud and false statements for events that took place between February 2009 and November 2010. The FBI accused the then-Tempe city councilman of taking more than $6,000 in game tickets from agents posing as developers who wanted access to city officials. In return, the FBI said, Arredondo gave the agents information about the city’s bidding process and promised support as he moved on to the state House of Representatives.

“You guys will ask, you guys will have. I don’t know how else to say it,” the indictment quoted Arredondo as telling the agents. “We’ll be just fine because not only we’re covered at the city, we’re covered now at the state.”

Arredondo, 63, was a Republican during his long tenure on the City Council and in other elected offices. He became a Democrat when he launched his bid for the Legislature. Arredondo attorney Lee Stein has said the facts are different than what the FBI alleges, but that he’ll wait until the matter gets to court to address the specific allegations.

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