Mar 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

GOP congressman convicted for lying to federal agents

Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Julia Schmalz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Thursday was convicted for lying to federal investigators about illegal donations to his campaign, the Department of Justice announced.

Why it matters: The verdict marks a stunning fall from grace for Fortenberry, who is likely to resign or be expelled from the House after serving for nearly two decades in Congress.

  • Fortenberry gave up his seat on the House Appropriations Committee after he was indicted in October, in accordance with GOP conference rules.

Driving the news: A federal jury in California found Fortenberry guilty of three felonies: two counts of making false statements and one count of falsifying and concealing materials.

The other side: Fortenberry has publicly defended himself and sought to portray the indictment as politically motivated.

  • "[President] Biden’s FBI is using its unlimited power to prosecute me on a bogus charge," Fortenberry said in a fundraising video ahead of the indictment, which was reported by Axios' Lachlan Markey.
  • His legal team carried that narrative into the courtroom, attempting to undercut the prosecutor by highlighting his donations to Democrats.
  • His lawyers also argued that Fortenberry misremembered details of his call with the associate when speaking to investigators, but did not intend to mislead them.
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