On Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) on one charge of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators.
The indictment stems from an FBI investigation into $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions from Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury. A group of Californians funneled contributions from 2012 through 2016 to four US politicians, including $30,200 to Fortenberry in 2016.
According to the indictment, Fortenberry erroneously told investigators that he wasn’t aware of illegal contributions, that he’d publicly disclosed donors, and that he wasn’t aware of any contributions from a foreign national.
However, the indictment alleges that a cohost of a 2016 fundraiser told Fortenberry that the donations probably did come from Chagoury.
“We will fight these charges,” Fortenberry said in a YouTube video posted Monday night. “I did not lie to them. I told them what I knew.”
Knowingly making false statements to a federal agent is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.