US congressman accused of lying to FBI about campaign contributions

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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19 (Reuters) – A U.S. congressman who prosecutors say lied to FBI investigators about illegal contributions by foreign nationals to his 2016 re-election campaign was indicted on federal charges Tuesday.

Jeff Fortenberry, a Republican from Nebraska, has been indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles with two counts of making false statements to federal investigators and one count of conspiring to falsify and cover up important facts.

Fortenberry, 60, said in a videotaped statement with his wife, posted on YouTube earlier on Tuesday, that he expected to be charged in the case.

“We are shocked, we are dumbfounded. I feel so personally betrayed,” Fortenberry said in the video, speaking as he sat next to his wife and dog in the cabin of his Ford pickup truck.

Fortenberry said he spoke to FBI agents at his Lincoln, Nebraska home about campaign contributions and told the truth, trying to help them with the investigation. He asked viewers to pray for him.

Prosecutors accuse Fortenberry, who was first elected in Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District in 2005, of lying to investigators about about $ 30,000 in campaign contributions he received in 2016 from Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury.

Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to federal election campaigns.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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