Former Nebraska 1st-District Congressman Jeff Fortenberry has appealed his three March convictions for lying to or misleading FBI agents investigating foreign funds illegally donated to Fortenberry’s 2016 reelection campaign.
The 61-page appeal filed Friday evening with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals calls the case “unprecedented prosecution in which the Department of Justice hauled a sitting member of Congress across the country to stand trial in a foreign jurisdiction on charges of making false statements more than a thousand miles away.”
Specifically, the appeal argues Fortenberry should have been tried in Nebraska or Washington, DC, where he was questioned by federal agents, and not in central California where the illegal contribution occurred.
It also argues federal District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld should have given the jurors the narrower definition of the crime of misleading agents that Fortenberry’s lawyers had proposed. Blumenfeld ruled against both arguments at the District Court level.
Fortenberry was given 2 years probation, 320 hours of community service, and a $25,000 fine but the sentence is on hold until his appeals are resolved.
Fortenberry resigned his seat in Congress at the end of March and Republican State Senator Mike Flood of Norfolk beat Democratic State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln in a special election to serve out the term.
Flood and Brooks had earlier won their parties’ nomination for the seat and are facing each other in next week’s election for a full 2-year term.