A federal judge in California has rejected Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s motions to drop charges accusing him of making false statements to FBI agents who were investigating an illegal foreign donation to his 2016 reelection campaign.
Attorneys for the 8-term Republican had filed 4 motions to dismiss and one to disqualify one of the prosecutors, but U-S District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr rejected them all.
Fortenberry has pleaded Not Guilty to all charges and is scheduled for trial next month in Los Angeles. A spokesman continues to insist the government’s case is flawed.
Fortenberry is accused of lying to the FBI in 2019 and concealing information from agents who were looking into a $30,000 donation his 2016 campaign received from Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian billionaire of Lebanese descent.
Chagoury made the donation through a middleman at a 2016 fundraiser in Los Angeles, leading to the decision of prosecutors to bring the charges in California.
One of Fortenberry’s motions was to move the trial from California because the incidents cited in the charges did not occur there.
Judge Blumenfeld disagreed, writing “because Defendant’s allegedly false statements were directed at federal investigative efforts…in the Central District of California.
The charges stem from a broader investigation into $180,000 dollars in illegal contributions by Chagoury to 4 members of Congress, including the $30,000 to Fortenberry.