Arizona Capitol

Ben Arredondo Case: Will More Politicos Join Him With the Title of "Defendant"?

A filing submitted in federal court Wednesday in the bribery, fraud, attempted extortion and false statements case of state Representative Ben Arredondo explains that the feds don't want a bunch of information to be publicly disclosed in the case because of "other investigations," which are "both closed and ongoing."

Who or what they're looking into isn't disclosed, or even hinted at, but the filing submitted by the Justice Department attorney says Arredondo has "no objection" to keeping this stuff out of the public eye.

"If this information were to be publicly 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," the filing states.

Arredondo -- a Republican-turned-Democrat who served on the Tempe City Council for 16 years before making it into the state House of Representatives in 2010 -- was getting the tickets from a company in exchange for helping it buy city-owned land for a real estate development, according to his federal indictment, filed last week.

That was discovered because there was no "company" -- it was all set up by FBI agents.

"You guys will ask, you guys will have," Arredondo's quoted as saying. "I don't know how else to say it. We'll be just fine because not only [are we] covered at the city, we're covered now at the state."

Arredondo allegedly told the agents he'd reach out to the council members to make sure the deal went through as he went to the House, and didn't disclose the $5,000 worth of tickets or the tables at the charity events he received from the imaginary company.

Arredondo was hit with one count of bribery, two counts of mail fraud , one count of extortion, and one count of giving false statements for allegedly telling FBI agents he knew nothing about the tickets.

As one commenter pointed out yesterday, a good portion of Arredondo's indictment was pretty Tempe City Council-centric.

That said, given the "other investigations," do you think other politicos will have the title of "defendant" attached to their names soon?

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley