Republican Congressman Found Guilty Of 3 Financial Crimes

0
860

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) was found guilty of federal criminal offenses related to receiving an illegal $30,000 in donations and then lying to federal authorities about that cash inflow — something federal officials often take quite seriously. A federal jury operating in Los Angeles deliberated for just a couple of hours before coming to their verdict that Fortenberry was guilty of crimes including concealing information and two counts of making false statements to authorities, as described by the Associated Press. Fortenberry, that outlet explains, “was charged after denying to the FBI that he was aware he had received illicit funds from Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian billionaire of Lebanese descent.” He received the money through intermediaries, but a recorded phone conversation features Fortenberry hearing about the known-to-be likely illegal source for the donations.

Fortenberry indicated after the verdict was reached that he’d be appealing the outcome, and he declined to indicate whether he would suspend his campaign for re-election, although there’s already a Republican primary challenger with high-profile backing in the race for his U.S. House seat. Fortenberry claimed that he’d been “getting so many beautiful messages from people literally all around the world, who’ve been praying for us and pulling for us.” Going forward, his sentencing is scheduled for June, and he could be dealt up to five years in prison on each count, according to the Associated Press. Although Fortenberry’s defense “argued at trial that he wasn’t aware of the contribution and that agents directed an informant to feed him the information in a 10-minute call to set him up,” the Associated Press explains, the jury apparently didn’t buy it. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mack Jenkins said the prosecution’s “view is that it was a simple story… A politician caught up in the cycle of money and power. And like I said, he lost his way.” Fortenberry’s defense added his “flaw was voluntarily meeting with agents and prosecutors to help their probe and having a faulty memory,” the Associated Press says.

In other news regarding corrupt Republican members of Congress, a legal challenge has been filed to the eligibility for re-election of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on the grounds that she’s no longer able to run for Congress because of her connections to last year’s attack on the Capitol. Under Georgia law, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) is now apparently required to seek a hearing before an administrative law judge in Georgia to examine the question of whether Greene is eligible, and according to one of the groups behind the challenge, the burden of proving that she’s able to run will be on Greene. Those who brought the challenge are also apparently hoping to take a deposition of Greene under oath, something that’s not been done in connection to Capitol riot investigations thus far. Troublingly, Greene explicitly claimed at one point that Democratic leaders including Joe Biden were guilty of treason, which she alleged was punishable by death — a claim that could obviously be argued to lead to exactly the kind of violence that enveloped the Capitol last year.