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Mining executive testifies: Rick Renzi behavior smelled fishy

In this March 5, 2008 file photo shows Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., right, facing a 35 count indictment, listens to his lead attorney Reid Weingarten after his arraignment, during a news conference at U.S. District Court in Tucson, Ariz. Renzi pleaded not guilty in his initial court appearance. A jury has begun hearing testimony in the trial of former Congressman Rick Renzi in federal court in Tucson. The Arizona Republican is accused of siphoning money from clients of his insurance agency to pay for personal and political expenses. He's also accused of trying to engineer a land swap for personal gain. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

In this March 5, 2008 file photo shows Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., right, facing a 35 count indictment, listens to his lead attorney Reid Weingarten after his arraignment, during a news conference at U.S. District Court in Tucson, Ariz. Renzi pleaded not guilty in his initial court appearance. A jury has begun hearing testimony in the trial of former Congressman Rick Renzi in federal court in Tucson. The Arizona Republican is accused of siphoning money from clients of his insurance agency to pay for personal and political expenses. He's also accused of trying to engineer a land swap for personal gain. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — A former mining company executive has testified it was fishy that then-Congressman Rick Renzi insisted during a 2005 phone conservation that a proposed exchange involving federal land sought by the executive’s company needed to include a particular piece of privately owned property.

Renzi is accused of trying to engineer the land exchange to benefit himself and a business associate who owned the private property and who owed Renzi money.

The Arizona Republic reports that former Resolution Copper Mining executive Bruno Hegner testified that Renzi declared there’d be “no bill” without including the property.

Renzi’s lawyers have said he wanted to include the property because its water use as cropland was a threat to a nearby Army base.

Hegner testified Wednesday in Renzi’s trial in federal court in Tucson.

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