U.S. officials charged with lying to the federal government are “honest”

Los Angeles (AP) —

California Democrats testified Wednesday by a Republican colleague in Nebraska A person charged with lying to the FBI Illegal $ 30,000 or more campaign donations from Nigerian-born billionaires are honest and honorable.

US Rep. Anna Eshoo, who represents the Silicon Valley region, said she met US Rep. Jeff Fortenbury while working together on the issue of persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

“I think he’s honoring what he’s doing,” Eshu said. “He’s honest. His job is good. I can’t say about all the legislators …. My sensibility is to bring honesty to everything he does.”

Esshu was the first defense counsel to be summoned in Fortenbury’s trial in the US District Court for Los Angeles. The prosecutor’s office has filed a lawsuit against the investigator for lying to the investigator about the $ 30,000 donation he received through Strodener.

Fortenberry, 61, 9th Diet member facing reelectionHave Acquitted He accused him of deliberately misleading FBI agents and prosecutors who were investigating 2016 donations. It is illegal for US politicians to accept foreign funds.

Prosecutors alleged that Fortenbury lied about what he knew in an interview at Lincoln’s home and a follow-up meeting in Washington, and did not properly disclose the donations he received in a Los Angeles fundraiser.

Attorneys said Fortenbury was “founded” by FBI agent ambushing him After a failed national survey of foreign currency poured into parliamentarians. They said his only mistake was to meet his agent and prosecutor.

Former Republican Rep. Tray Gordy of South Carolina, who initially represented Fortenbury, testified that Fortenbury tried to assist the federal prosecutor’s investigation.

Gordy said Mac Jenkins, a U.S. federal prosecutor’s aide, to report that Fortenbury met with donation source Gilbert Shagri in several places, including having dinner together in France. He said he left a voice mail to him.

In 2019, Shaguri, who lives in Paris, allowed $ 180,000 in illegal campaigns to invest in four campaigns and agreed to pay a $ 1.8 million fine.

Shaguri and other key figures at the heart of the case are associated with the In Defense of Christians, a non-profit organization endorsed by Fortenbury.

Gordy told Jenkins that Shagley wasn’t attending a campaign fundraiser for Fortenbury at a doctor’s house in Los Angeles.

On Monday, Dr. Elias Ayub distributed $ 30,000 in cash from a brown paper bag from a fellow Shaguri to friends and relatives, who testified that they wrote a check for the Fortenbury campaign. Gowdy said that Fortenberry had nothing to stand out about the funds raised at the event.

“In his mind, there was nothing wrong with the amount of money collected and the number of people in attendance,” Gowdy said.

In an interview with federal prosecutors and agents in July 2019, Fortenbury told investigators that Ayube was “terrifying” when he told investigators that his campaign received $ 30,000 in cash and probably came from Shaguri. rice field.

“It was a very important moment in the interview,” Gowdy said. “He used the word scary. He uses shock. Shock in the angry subtext.”

Fortenbury Chief of Staff Andrew Branagh testified as the last witness of the day, and his boss was one of the “last great politicians” and was widely respected for his honesty and honesty. He said it was “foresight”.

Branagh testified that in April 2019 someone turned down the cash envelope he was trying to hand him over, and that Fortenbury was angry when he learned of the incident. He had staff call the Sergeant at Arms, Parliamentary Police, and the FBI. They all arrived at the office immediately for investigation.

“He quickly confirmed that it would never happen,” Branagh said.

During the cross-examination, Federal Republic of Central America’s aide J. Jamari Buxton said the case was dated a month after Fortenbury was first asked by the FBI about possible monetary crimes. Stated.