Nebraska Rep Fortenberry faces charges in campaign finance inquiry

Written by on October 19, 2021

Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry was charged Tuesday with concealing data and mendacity to federal authorities in a marketing campaign finance inquiry into unlawful contributions to the longtime Republican lawmaker’s 2016 re-election bid.

Fortenberry, 60, who has served in Congress since 2005, is charged with repeatedly mendacity and deceptive investigators throughout an inquiry involving Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury. Prosecutors say Chagoury organized to contribute $30,000 to the lawmaker’s marketing campaign by way of intermediaries, regardless that such contributions from international nationals are unlawful.

The donations have been allegedly offered to the marketing campaign at a Los Angeles fundraiser in early 2016.

Chagoury entered right into a deferred prosecution settlement with federal prosecutors in Los Angeles in 2019 through which he admitted funneling $180,000 to 4 totally different political candidates in U.S. elections. As a part of the settlement, Chagoury, certainly one of Africa’s richest males, additionally agreed to pay a $1.eight million wonderful and cooperate with federal authorities.

In accordance with federal prosecutors, a co-host of the 2016 Los Angeles fundraiser, recognized in courtroom paperwork as “Particular person H” knowledgeable the the FBI and IRS of the scheme. The knowledge prompted the give attention to Fortenberry and whether or not the congressman was conscious that the contributions have been prohibited.

In a June 2018 phone name, based on prosecutors, the informant allegedly informed Fortenberry {that a} Chagoury affiliate had offered him with $30,000 and that the cash was distributed to others on the fundraiser to hide the precise supply of the funds.

“Regardless of studying of the unlawful marketing campaign contributions, Fortenberry didn’t file an amended report with the Federal Elections Fee,” based on courtroom paperwork.

Fortenberry allegedly made “false and deceptive statements” throughout two separate interviews with interviews with federal investigators in 2019, together with that he was not conscious of the illicit contributions and the scheme to hide them.

On the second interview, on July 18, 2019, Fortenberry once more allegedly denied information of the scheme, stating that he would have been “horrified” to be taught concerning the unlawful contributions from the pre-arranged intermediaries.

In a video posted on-line, Fortenberry mentioned he would aggressively problem the legal case.

“We’re shocked; we’re surprised,” the congressman mentioned, recounting the FBI’s interviews. “I really feel so personally betrayed. We thought we have been making an attempt to assist. And so now we must combat.”

Fortenberry is scheduled to make a primary courtroom look Wednesday.

Every of the three legal counts carry a most punishment of 5 years in jail.

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