Indicted Nebraska GOP Rep. Fortenberry pleads not guilty

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Nebraska US Representative Jeff Fortenberry pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he lied to federal agents investigating illegal contributions to his campaign, and prosecutors say he is a top Republican congressman. Planning to call him as a trial witness. Fortenberry made his initial appearance in federal court in Los Angeles through an online video-chatting service. A judge ordered him to post a $50,000 bond and asked him not to have any contact with prosecution witnesses outside the presence of his lawyer, but allowed him to avoid spending time in prison as the case proceeded. .

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Prosecutors also revealed they plan to call Fortenberry’s longtime chief of staff, Dr. William “Rain” Archer III, as one of at least eight witnesses.

Meanwhile, Fortenberry’s lawyers said they would file a motion to suppress statements made by Congressman “because he was misled” and to disqualify the case’s chief prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mac Jenkins, because he Planning to call him as a witness. They also said they would try to dismiss the allegations of lack of jurisdiction, arguing that the alleged crimes recorded in California took place in Nebraska and Washington, DC.

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Jenkins said Fortenberry violated his oath of office by “harassing, repeatedly lying” to federal agents investigating illegal campaign contributions.

“It’s about an investigation that goes to the heart of our democracy,” Jenkins said.

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Fortenberry was accused on Tuesday of lying to the FBI and withholding information from federal agents who were investigating campaign contributions funneled from the Nigerian billionaire.

The nine-term congressman faces one charge of conspiracy to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators. The indictment stems from an FBI investigation into the illegal campaign contributions of Lebanese-born Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagouri of $180,000.

Contributions were funneled through a group of Californians from 2012 to 2016 and went to four US politicians, including $30,200 to Fortenberry in 2016.

Fortenberry’s attorney, John Littrell, said prosecutors were tarnishing his client’s reputation with allegations of “very serious, very serious, something that is out of character.”

Fortenberry was first elected to the First Congressional District in 2004. Redistribution last month reduced the Republican makeup of the district, but Fortenberry is still a strong favorite to win a 10th term, and so far, no Democrats have announced plans to challenge. Him.

Back in Nebraska, local Republicans voiced their support for the nine-term congressman on Wednesday. Former President Donald Trump has weighed in on a well, seeking to portray the allegations against Fortenberry as unfair.

“Isn’t it appalling that a Republican congressman from Nebraska has been accused of lying to investigators about campaign contributions,” Trump said in a statement. “Is there no justice in this country?”

John Orr, a longtime party worker who has known Fortenberry for 30 years, said he was shocked by the allegations and suspected they were politically motivated.

“This whole thing seems like out of character” for Fortenberry, Orr said. “He’s always very forthright, very honest, never evasive.”

Norfolk Mayor Josh Moening, former Fortenberry Chief of Staff, said Congressman has earned the public’s trust through hard work and policy leadership.

“I have always known him to act with the utmost respect for the dignity of the office and its ethical obligations, which makes these allegations incomprehensible,” Moining said.

Fortenberry’s House counterparts, Republicans Don Bacon and Adrian Smith, both issued statements in support of their Nebraska aide but declined to dispute the allegations. Smith said he didn’t want to rush the decision and described Fortenberry as “committed to serving Nebraskans,” and I believe that commitment hasn’t wavered.

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Follow Grant Schulte on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrantSchulte



Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Nebraska

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