Arizona Capitol

Frank Antenori, Ex-Lawmaker and Trump Delegate, Convicted of Unlawfully Entering Army Base

Frank Antenori, a former Arizona state senator who's in Cleveland this week as one of Arizona's 58 Republican delegates, has been convicted of unlawfully entering a military base.

The ex-Green Beret, who lives in Cochise, pleaded guilty in federal court last month to a charge of entering a military reservation for an illegal purpose, a Class B federal misdemeanor.

He was charged in January with hunting illegally on the 76,000-acre Fort Huachuca base in southern Arizona, which is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center. But prosecutors swapped out that charge for the lesser one in early June, and Antenori pleaded guilty. He was sentenced on June 20 and ordered to pay a fine of $489. He was also banned from hunting on Fort Huachuca property.

Skip Donau, the former lawyer for deceased mobster Joseph Bonnano, worked as Antenori's defense attorney in the case.

After news of his charge arose, Antenori claimed publicly that army officials were retaliating against him and had closed a portion of the base specifically to keep him from bow hunting. He said he made official complaints to Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally.

A base spokeswoman said in January that no one from the base had retaliated against Antenori for anything, and that he'd been warned previously about entering base property to hunt.

"It's always been open to hunting,” Antenori told the Green Valley News in January, adding that he'd hunted there for 11 years. "I didn't kill anything, and I didn't try to kill anything."

In his guilty plea in federal court, Antenori admitted he'd entered a prohibited part of the military base without permission "for the purpose of retrieving equipment."

Antenori didn't return messages from New Times.

On Wednesday, KJZZ (91.5 FM)'s Jude Joffe-Block interviewed Antenori for a National Public Radio piece, reporting that Antenori told him that "it was thrilling to be on the floor with his fellow delegates when Graham announced Arizona was sending 58 votes to Trump."

Antenori served in the Arizona State Legislature, first as a representative and later as a senator, from 2009 to 2013.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern