An Idaho state senator is under scrutiny for a relationship his wife had with a prison inmate, reports the Idaho Press Tribune. Sen. Curt McKenzie of Nampa defended his wife this week as more details emerged about her dealings with the inmate, Lance Wood, who is serving two life sentences for first-degree murder. Idaho Department of Correction documents show that the senator’s wife, Renee McKenzie, and Wood discussed getting married and starting a private investigation business together. Renee McKenzie served as Wood’s court-appointed legal assistant from November to Feb. 14. She was allowed in-person prison visits until they were suspended.
Wood is suing the Idaho Department of Correction for sexual harassment, claiming that a female prison guard “perpetrated sexual acts on him without his consent.” On Monday, a federal judge ruled that Renee McKenzie overstepped her role assisting Wood in his case as the relationship between the two became inappropriate. Wood had requested a court hearing, saying that the Idaho Department of Correction inappropriately recorded his phone calls with McKenzie and opened and reviewed his legal mail to her. Curt McKenzie called the reports about his wife’s actions “gossip.”