Republican Congressman Found Guilty of Lying to FBI

On Thursday, Nebraska Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry was found guilty of lying to the FBI regarding illegal campaign donations from 2016. He was convicted by a jury on one count of falsifying and concealing material facts and two counts of making false statements.

Fox News reports:

U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, 61, was charged last year after being interviewed by two FBI agents who were investigating Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury who gave Fortenberry a $30,000 campaign contribution at a Los Angeles fundraiser before the 2016 election and has donated to other campaigns.

The nine-term Republican congressman’s defense has maintained his innocence, arguing that the investigators knew he was unaware of the donation at the time but directed an informant to feed him the information in a 10-minute recorded call with the intention of trying to prosecute him. They claimed the FBI used false pretenses a year later to interview him and charge him after he couldn’t remember the recorded conversation.

Dr. Elias Ayoub, who hosted Fortenberry in Los Angeles in 2016, confessed in a recorded 2018 call with the congressman that he distributed $30,000 to friends and relatives who attended the fundraiser so they could write checks to Fortenberry’s campaign. During the call in 2018, Ayoub had been cooperating with the FBI. Ayoub said the money probably came from Chagoury, who admitted in 2019 to funneling $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions to four campaigns and agreed to pay a $1.8 million fine.

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