GOP rep Jeff Fortenberry found guilty of lying about money

Jeff Fortenberry is surrounded by his wife (left) and some of his children during a debate with the press outside federal court in California.

Jeff Fortenberry is surrounded by his wife (left) and some of his children during a debate with the press outside federal court in California.

US Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb. 1), ai said in a social media video that he was “suffering greatly” during the crime, was Thursday night sentenced on “withholding information and making false statements to federal agencies,” the U.S. Department of Justice has announced.

“I let them into my house,” Fortenberry said of FBI agents showing up on his doorstep to ask him about campaign contributions that came from a foreign national. “I answered their questions. Then we went back and answered other questions. I tell them what I know and what I understand. They accused me of lying to them and accused me of this. Was shocked. We were stunned. Personally, I feel betrayed. We thought we were trying to help. And, so now we will have to fight.”

Federal grand jury in California make that war futile.

Fortenberry, 61, of Lincoln, Neb., has been in Congress since 2005. DOJ speak The jury found him “committed to one count of conspiracy to pervert and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators.” All three crimes are felonies.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 28. The maximum penalty for each of the three counts is up to five years in federal prison, although the maximum penalty is unlikely.

“After learning of illegal contributions to his campaign, the congressman repeatedly chose to conceal his violations of federal law to protect his job, reputation and that of close associates. his close friends,” United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison say in one Press Release. “The lies in this case threaten the integrity of the US election system and are designed to prevent investigators from learning the true source of campaign funds.”

“Today’s sentencing highlights the FBI’s commitment to holding elected officials accountable,” speak Kristi Johnson, Assistant Director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The ruling underscores the importance of honesty for law enforcement and demonstrates the government’s dedication to keeping the nation’s interests unaffected through foreign donations. illegal campaign.”

“Jeff Fortenberry lied to federal agents to cover up illegal donations to his re-election campaign,” speak IRS Criminal Investigative Agent Ryan L. Korner. “Today’s guilty verdict shows that no one is above the law and the IRS-CI and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold our public servants accountable.”

Here’s how the federalists say the case went down:

According to evidence presented during a seven-day trial, Fortenberry lied to and misled authorities in two interviews conducted by federal authorities, who were reviewing illegal donations. for Fortenberry’s re-election campaign conducted by a foreign billionaire in early 2016. Gilbert Chagourya foreign national prohibited by federal law from contributing to any election in the United States; donated $30,000 of his own money through “straw donors” who attended the fundraiser. Fortenberry campaign held in Los Angeles.

“It is illegal for foreign nationals to contribute to a federal campaign,” the federalist continued. “It is illegal to disguise the real source of campaign donations by transferring funds through third-party pipes.”

Chagoury entered into a deferred prosecution settlement, admitting to providing $180,000 in illegal contributions to four separate candidates and paying a $1.8 million fine, the DOJ said.

The press release goes on to say that the “co-organizer” of the 2016 related fundraiser “initiated cooperation with federal agencies in September 2016 and notified agents with the FBI and IRS Article Criminal investigation for illegal donations.” An investigation ensued. Fortenberry and whether he was “aware of illegal donations – both foreign donations and piped donations – at the 2016 fundraiser”. They want to know “whether Fortenberry is aware of illegal foreign contributions from Chagoury” and “if Fortenberry has any communications with Chagoury regarding illegal donations.” measures were taken during the 2016 fundraiser.”

The DOJ further describes the poll:

In the spring of 2018, Fortenberry contacted Person H about hosting another fundraiser. During a call in June 2018, individual H repeatedly told the congressman that a close associate of Chagoury and political ally of Fortenberry – Toufic Joseph Baakliniwho also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with prosecutors – provided him with $30,000 in cash to go to Fortenberry’s campaign at the 2016 fundraiser. Fortenberry that the money – distributed to other individuals during the fundraiser so that donations can be made in their names and circumvent the limits of individual donors – “might come from Gilbert Chagoury .”

Despite knowing of the illegal campaign contributions, Fortenberry did not file a revised report with the Federal Election Commission.

Instead, upon learning of this information, Fortenberry made false and misleading statements in a March 23, 2019 interview with investigators, who specifically told him that lying the federal government is a crime. Fortenberry falsely told investigators he was unaware that Baaklini had ever participated in illegal campaign contributions, that the individual contributors at the 2016 fundraiser had all been publicly disclosed, and he is unaware of any donations to his campaign from a foreign national.

The second interview took place on July 18, 2019, the DOJ said. There, “Fortenberry made additional false statements, including denying that he was aware of any illegal donations made during the 2016 fundraiser, denying that Personal H. told him Baaklini offered $30,000 in cash at a 2016 fundraiser and said he would be ‘appalled’ to learn of the illegal pipeline donations. “

“In this second interview, Fortenberry also falsely claimed that he ended a June 2018 call with Person H after that person made a ‘relevant comment’, while on In fact, Fortenberry went on to ask Individual H to organize another fundraiser for its campaign, according to court documents,” the DOJ said.

Back when he was indicted, Fortenberry’s video begging for help called the case against him “wrong on many levels.”

“I strive to give you honest, clear answers and do my duty as a representative of our great nation and for America, and I try to frankly for you and our family,” Fortenberry said in the video. “Alleging this is extremely painful and we are heartbroken. We will fight these allegations. I don’t lie to them. I told them what I knew. But we need your help, first and foremost. Please pray with us, as these are difficult times.”

Omaha ABC KETV branch confront Fortenberry as he leaves the courthouse last night. He began to introduce himself to the public by introducing his children and his wife, who surrounded him to take pictures.

Convicted politician – felony speak he is comforted by loving messages and affirmations from loved ones and “literally people around the world”.

He’s special speak he wanted to thank his wife for “her courage and dignity”.

“This call begins immediately,” he speak about his legal woes. He also said he correctly determined that it would be “difficult to have a fair process here,” in California, for example.

When asked if he wished he hadn’t gone to California to collect the money, Fortenberry speak The entire “public” case went to trial leading to his conviction – but he refused to explain because cameras weren’t allowed during the proceedings.

“We are always concerned about the fairness of the process,” he more.

Fortenberry is currently locked in a Republican primary with Michael J. Flood, speaker of the state legislature. Poll taken last month – before Fortenberry’s conviction – put Fortenberry before Flood despite his status at the time as indicted.

Read the original indictment below:

[image via KETV screengrab]

Is there a trick we should know? [email protected] GOP rep Jeff Fortenberry found guilty of lying about money

James Brien

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