The donation came from a foreign billionaire and violated United States campaign finance law.
Prosecutors allege that Fortenberry knew that Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury illegally funneled $30,000 in donations through straw donors, but denied knowledge to federal agents.
Prosecutors claim Fortenberry continued to lie in order to obtain additional money to benefit him and his friends despite many opportunities to tell the truth.
Fortenberry attorney Glen Summers stated, “The investigation started to turn into a nothing burger… and that federal agents saw an “opportunity for a big takedown.”
The Representative seems to have no emotion as he fights the charges he claims are driven by overzealous prosecutors.
Prosecutors are trying to use evidence of a phone call where Fortenberry was appraised that some of the donations likely came from Chagoury as evidence, while his team is claiming the call was unmemorable and simply didn’t remember that information.
Fortenberry has drawn challengers in a safe Republican district, but continues to run for reelection.