Government, defense prepare for arguments as new documents filed in Fortenberry case

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – New documents have been filed in the federal case against Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.

The government is reportedly attempting to convince the judge this isn’t a case of what the defense has said is political prosecution.

The latest filings come from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California. They are briefs arguing why they’ve given the defense all the evidence they have and reasons why the investigation is progressing.

The government insists that the evidence they’ve gathered should be allowed to be heard by a jury.

Fortenberry, Nebraska’s longest-serving congressman, is accused of lying to the FBI about receiving a $30,000 campaign donation from a foreign national in 2015.

The allegation is about what he told an informant years later — and during two interviews with the FBI.

In the new court filings, the government allegedly takes issue with one plan of defense expected from Fortenberry’s legal team.

A memory expert is expected to testify at the trial.

The government alleges the memory expert is likely to argue the nine-term congressman “could have forgotten all he knew about receiving illegal foreign contributions as discussed in the call with the informant.”

The U.S. Attorney also says it’s given all the documents it’s supposed to give to the defense, including more than 12,000 pages and 60 audio and/or video recordings.

Both interviews with the FBI are on tape.

The defense continues to question the motives of the government — alleging political prosecution.

The federal government says the inquiry has continued under two different administrations.

Both sides are expected to make oral arguments in a federal courtroom on Jan. 11.

The defense believes that some of what congressman Fortenberry said to the FBI shouldn’t be allowed at trial because he thought he was being questioned as a witness, not a suspect.