Nebraska congressman Jeff Fortenberry found guilty of lying to FBI probing illegal campaign contributions

Representative Jeffrey Lane Fortenberry (age 61 years), was indicted last year after being questioned by two FBI agents investigating Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Ramez Chagoury, who gave Fortenberry a $30,000 campaign contribution at a Los Angeles fundraiser before the 2016 election and has donated to other candidates.

A Nebraska congressman was convicted guilty of lying to the FBI about an unlawful campaign contribution from 2016 in a California courtroom.

On Thursday, he was found guilty of one count of fabricating and concealing material facts as well as two counts of making false statements by a jury.

The defense of the nine-term congressman has maintained his innocence, claiming that investigators knew he was uninformed of the donation at the time, but authorized an informant to feed him the information in a 10-minute taped call with the objective of prosecuting him.

They said the FBI interviewed him under false pretenses a year later and charged him after he couldn’t recall the recorded discussion.

One of the prosecutors, Tracy L. Wilkison, stated, “The lies, in this case, jeopardized the integrity of the American election system and were aimed to prevent investigators from knowing the genuine source of campaign donations.”

In a recorded 2018 call with Fortenberry, Dr. Elias Ayoub, who hosted the congressman in Los Angeles in 2016, said that he provided $30,000 to friends and family who attended the fundraiser so they could send contributions to Fortenberry’s campaign.

Ayoub had been cooperating with the FBI during the call in 2018. Chagoury admitted to funneling $180,000 in unlawful campaign contributions to four races in 2019 and agreed to pay a $1.8 million punishment, according to Ayoub.

In 2019, Fortenberry informed the FBI that he didn’t receive any overseas donations or so-called conduit contributions, in which money was passed to straw contributors, unaware that the call was being recorded.

According to KETV in Omaha, prosecutor Susan Har claimed during closing arguments that Fortenberry “decided to conceal the truth, he chose to lie to federal investigators when they came to interrogate him… assuming his standing and privilege as a congressman would shield him from his decisions.”