The Republican American rep. Jeff Fortenberry resigned Saturday afternoon after facing growing pressure from congressional leaders and Nebraska GOP governor to step down to a California jury found him guilty of lying to federal authorities over an illegal $ 30,000 campaign donation from a Nigerian billionaire.
House President Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both urged the nine-term congressman to leave office, as did Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has signed Fortenberry’s top Republican primary challenger.
“The people of Nebraska deserve active, determined representation,” Ricketts said. “I hope Jeff Fortenberry will do the right thing and get fired so his voters have that certainty while focusing on his family and other issues.”
American rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., Center, has resigned after being found guilty of lying to the FBI about illegal campaign donations totaling $ 30,000 from a Nigerian billionaire
Fortenberry went up with a poem written on the wall of an Indian orphanage
The allegations stemmed from an FBI investigation into $ 180,000 in illegal campaign contributions by billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, pictured at a Beverly Hills benefit in 2008
McCarthy said he texted Fortenberry about the conviction. “I think if anyone is convicted, it’s time to fire,” McCarthy told reporters in Jacksonville, Florida.
Pelosi said Fortenberry’s belief is a breach of public confidence and confidence in his ability to serve. No one is above the law. ‘
Saturday, Fortenberry stepped down with a one-page letter.
‘Dear colleagues, when it’s difficult, I sometimes read a poem written on the wall of Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Calcutta,’ he began.
The poem contains the lines: ‘People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Forgive them though.
‘If you’re friendly, people can accuse you of selfish motives. Be nice though.
‘If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some real enemies. Success anyway.
‘If you’re honest and honest, people can threaten you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
Fortenberry signed: ‘It was my honor to serve with you in the United States House of Representatives. Due to the difficulties of my current circumstances, I can no longer serve effectively. I will resign from Congress on March 31, 2022. ‘
A federal jury in Los Angeles ruled Thursday about two hours before Fortenberry pleaded guilty to concealing information and two counts of making false statements to authorities.
Fortenberry was charged after denying to the FBI that he was aware that he had obtained illegal funds from Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian billionaire of Lebanese descent who lives in Paris.
The three men who withdrew money to Fortenberry from Chagouri were all of Lebanese descent and had ties to In Defense of Christians, a nonprofit that supported Fortenberry dedicated to fighting religious persecution in the Middle East. East.
Outside the courthouse, Fortenberry said the process had been dishonest and that he would appeal immediately, saying he would spend time with his family.
“I get so many beautiful messages from people literally all over the world who have prayed for us and for us,” he said.
Fortenberry, 61, claimed in court that the congressman was unaware of the contribution, but agents directed an informant to feed him the information in a 10-minute call to catch him.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mack Jenkins said prosecutors have not yet considered what punishment they will seek when Fortenberry is sentenced June 28. Each count carries a potential five-year prison sentence and fines.
Vince Powers, a veteran probation attorney in Lincoln, Nebraska, who followed the Fortenberry case, said the judge will likely rely on federal guidelines when deciding which sentence to file.
Powers said that, based on his reading of the guidelines, Fortenberry could face up to 15-21 months in prison.
Considering the location of Fortenberry, Powers said it would likely be sent to the FPC Yankton, a federal prison with minimal security in Yankton, South Dakota, about 180 miles north of Lincoln.
The judge could also deviate from the guidelines with a higher or lower sentence. But Powers said it’s unlikely Fortenberry will get a trial period alone.
Fortenberry was charged with two counts of making false statements to federal investigators and one count of conspiracy to falsify and conceal material facts
“I do not see how he stays out of jail,” said Powers, a former president of the Nebraska Democratic Party.
Felons are eligible to run for and serve in Congress, but the vast majority opt for dismissal under threat of expulsion. Congress rules also prohibit members from voting on legislation following a conviction for crimes unless their constituents re-elect them.
It was the first trial of a sitting congressman since Rep. Jim Traficant, a Ohio Democrat, was convicted in 2002 of bribery and other crimes.
Fortenberry’s indictment in October drew a serious Republican primary challenge from state senator Mike Flood, a former speaker of the Nebraska Legislature who has since won the endorsements of Ricketts and former Gov. Dave Heineman.
The winner of the GOP primary will likely face state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, a Democrat from Lincoln but Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District is heavily Republican and has not been competitive in decades.
On Friday, Pansing Brooks said Fortenberry’s belief was a ‘wake-up call’ that the district needed a change and called for a review of campaign finance laws to increase transparency.
The resignation marks the end of Fortenberry’s nearly two decades in Congress, and comes after both party leaders in the House called on him to step down
“We can not afford to go back to the business as usual when this substance comes down to it,” Pansing Brooks said, adding that Nebraska is likely to ‘be the battle of some jokes’ because of Fortenberry’s conviction.
Fortenberry, 61, did not testify at trial, but his lawyers claimed he was unaware of the contribution and that agents directed an informant to give him the information in a 10-minute call to draft him.
Jenkins, the federal prosecutor, said there was enough evidence in the case and the jury’s quick verdict confirmed the prosecution’s efforts.
“Our opinion is that it was a simple story,” Jenkins said. ‘A politician caught in the circle of money and power. And as I said, he lost his way. ‘
Jenkins said the ruling should serve as a reminder to lawmakers that foreign influence and violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act are taken seriously.
‘I did not lie to them. I told them what I knew, ‘said Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who announced in a YouTube video last October how he was expected to be charged. He has now stepped up
“Lawmakers need to follow the law,” Jenkins said. “If we want to expect from someone who ultimately follows the law, it starts with the legislators, and I think that’s even more noble if the investigation itself goes to electoral integrity.”
Jenkins said the probe known as Operation Titan’s Grip was still ongoing.
Jenkins was asked if Fortenberry would eventually be prosecuted if he had announced and returned the money earlier, as other politicians did when they learned of the donations.
He said it was hard to say, but that Fortenberry’s inaction ‘was evidence of a’ scheme to hide ‘.
Other lawmakers who had received money from the group included Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, of Utah; Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, of California; and former Republican Rep. Terry Lee, who served in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.
MEM THERESA POEM
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them though.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India
If you’re friendly,
people can accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be nice though.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
If you’re honest and honest,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they can be jealous.
Be happy though.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do it right.
Give the world the best you have,
and it can never be enough.
Give the best that you have anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was at least never between you and them.
Jeff Fortenberry resigns found guilty of lying to FBI illegal campaign donations totaling $30,000 Source link Jeff Fortenberry resigns found guilty of lying to FBI illegal campaign donations totaling $30,000