Fortenberry Asks For Full Disclosure Of Investigation Details — Claims Prosecutor Biased

Washington, D.C.  (February 4, 2022)  Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s Defense Lawyer has filed additional motions as preparations continue for the Congressman’s trial on felony charges of lying to the FBI.

Fortenberry is charged with making false statements to the FBI in an investigation of campaign contributions from a Nigerian billionaire. Gilbert Chagoury contributed $30,000 to Fortenberry’s campaign beginning after a 2016 fund raising event in Los Angeles, California.

The latest motion charges that the Federal prosecutor is biased against Fortenberry and was determined to file charges against him even before the investigation began.  The charges say that Fortenberry lied to FBI agents who spoke with him, at his Lincoln home and in a recorded telephone call.

The Federal prosecutor plans to present only excerpts of the conversations to the jury.  Fortenberry’s motion claims that allowing the prosecutor to “cherry pick only the portions of Congressman Fortenberry’s statements that support the case, the jury will hear a misleading and incomplete version of the facts.”  Fortenberry’s motion says the jury should hear Congressman Fortenberry’s statements in their entirety, so that it can assess whether, beyond reasonable doubt, he violated Federal Law as charged.

Fortenberry’s motion addresses the actions and motives of Federal Prosecutor Mack Jenkins.  It says Jenkins traveled to Washington D.C. to interview Fortenberry in 2019, did not hear the confession he was expecting, believed that the Congressman was lying to him, and “became even more resolved to punish him for what he believed to be an insult and a waste of his time.”

The case centers around whether Fortenberry knew at the time he received Chagoury’s donation that he knew it to be illegal, because of its foreign source.  Fortenberry claims innocence, and that he was set up.  His campaign spokesman, Chad Kolton, issued the following statement today:

“The California prosecutor leading this case is now trying to hide the evidence of his bias against Republicans and the deceitful tactics used in the set up of Jeff Fortenberry. The prosecutor’s motions are designed to prevent the jury and the public from learning about his political donations during the investigation and from hearing all of Rep. Fortenberry’s conversation with the FBI that shows he answered their questions and tried to help them. For any trial to be fair, the jury and the public must see all of the facts that expose this unjust attack on Rep. Fortenberry.”

The trial has been set for February 15, to be held in a Federal courtroom in Los Angeles.  Fortenberry has asked that it be moved to Nebraska.  Another motion, filed by the prosecution, has asked the Judge to delay it until March 15 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Both of those motions are yet to be ruled on.

READ MORE: Judge Denies Rep. Fortenberry’s Motions To Dismiss Charges