Freezer Man Strikes Back?

Freezer Man Strikes Back?


Bruce Alpert, Times-Picayune

The controversial 2006 raid on former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson’s congressional office may get a belated review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The request doesn’t come from lawyers for Jefferson, the nine-term New Orleans Democrat who is appealing his 13-year sentence for bribery and public corruption, but from former Rep. Richard Renzi, R-Ariz.

Renzi wants the court to review an appellate court’s ruling that rejected his request to throw out corruption charges against him on grounds that the government violated the separation of powers clause of the Constitution.

The Jefferson raid, carried out over a May 2006 weekend, was the first ever of a sitting congressional member’s office and generated outcries from Democrats and Republicans. It also led to threats of resignations from the U.S. attorney general and other top administration officials if then-President George W. Bush acceded to congressional demands to return the documents taken from Jefferson. Bush kept the material under seal until the matter was reviewed by the courts.

Though Renzi’s office was not raided, his lawyers argue that the Speech or Debate clause, a key component of the separation of powers that sets the authority of the government’s three branches, was violated when government investigators reviewed some of his legislative documents.

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