A federal appeals court has reversed a former Republican congressman’s conviction.
Nebraska’s Jeff Fortenberry lied to the FBI about an unlawful campaign donation and was found guilty last year. Interviews in Nebraska and the nation’s capital allegedly yielded the fraudulent claims.
After his conviction, Fortenberry was sentenced to two years of probation, fined $25,000, and ordered to do over 300 hours of community service.
The trouble started in 2016 at a fundraising event in California; a Nigerian businessman donated $30,200 to the campaign of the then-congressman. After questioning him, authorities decided to press charges against Fortenberry.
No federal, state, or municipal elected official may accept campaign donations from any foreign national under federal law.
Instead of charges related to the donation, two counts of making false statements and one count of planning to falsify and hide significant facts were brought against Fortenberry. When questioned by the FBI, Fortenberry said he did not know anybody had illegally donated to his campaign. However, according to court documents, the agency had eavesdropped on a previous phone conversation when a cooperating witness informed Fortenberry that the Nigerian businessman probably donated $30,200.
In line with Fortenberry’s October appeal, the California appeals court ruled that federal prosecutors ought to have tried his case in either of the two districts where his alleged offenses took place rather than in Los Angeles, the location of the original fundraiser and the FBI agents’ headquarters.
The court ruled that the proper location for the FBI interview with Fortenberry should have been Nebraska or Washington, D.C.
There is ample evidence that the Justice Department became politicized during Joe Biden’s tenure, particularly concerning the investigations of Donald Trump and Hunter Biden.
After Judge Maryellen Noreika blew up Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea offer last year, the Biden administration moved to dismiss the charges and move the case to a new venue in either Washington, D.C., or California, with a new judge.
Many have also voiced their disapproval of the methods used by special counsel Jack Smith, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to probe Donald Trump.
Even though Trump was charged with mishandling secret materials, Joe Biden was not accused by his own Justice Department. While under the cover of the Secret Service at Mar-a-Lago, Trump kept sensitive materials locked up. While his troubled son Hunter lived in the Biden garage in Wilmington, Delaware, Vice President Joe Biden stored sensitive papers in boxes.