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Secrecy sought in Arredondo bribery case; court records refer to ‘other’ investigations

Rep. Ben Arredondo (File photo)

The Department of Justice and Rep. Ben Arredondo’s attorneys plan to keep the evidence against the indicted Tempe lawmaker secret to protect ongoing investigations.

The two sides have asked a federal judge to sign off on their agreement to keep evidence from going public.

A motion filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court by DOJ attorney Monique Abrishami asks Judge Fredrick Martone to issue a protective order for “all discovery materials provided in this matter.”

“If this information were to be 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,” Abrishami wrote.

The court document makes reference to “other investigations,” besides the one involving Arredondo.

Arredondo, a Democrat, was indicted May 16 on allegations he took thousands of dollars in game tickets and other perks in exchange for brokering property deals in Tempe. A federal grand jury charged him with bribery, fraud, attempted extortion and false statements.

The indictment alleges Arredondo accepted the tickets from FBI agents posing as real estate developers from February 2009 to November 2010.

During the campaign for his legislative seat, the indictment alleges the former Tempe councilman told the agents he would continue to help them as a state representative, if elected.

“You guys will ask, you guys will have,” he is quoted in the indictment as saying. “We’ll be just fine because not only we’re covered by the city, we’re covered now at the state.”

Under the protective order sought by the prosecution and defense, neither side could disclose evidence produced by the government without the other’s permission, including publicly filed documents.

Lee Stein, one of Arredondo’s attorneys, said if they hadn’t agreed to the protective order, then the federal prosecutors would have asked for one anyway without any agreed upon language.

“There was a fair amount of discussion back and forth between us and the government and ultimately we were comfortable with the language,” Stein said. “If we weren’t comfortable with the language, we would have opposed it.”

Stein said there will be full disclosure at trial if the case gets that far.

Martone has yet to rule on the request.

Arredondo is set to be arraigned May 30.

Read the court document

Related:

Arredondo charged in FBI bribery sting

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