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GOP congressman indicted by federal grand jury for lying to FBI

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., was indicted Tuesday for allegedly lying to investigators who were looking into foreign donations to his congressional campaign.

Fortenberry, who represents Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District, was charged with one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Gilbert Chagoury, a billionaire from Nigeria, made illegal contributions to Fortenberry campaigns, as well as several other GOP congressional races from 2012 to 2016.

Altogether, Chagoury’s contributed $180,000 to U.S. election campaigns, which violated federal law. Of that, $30,200 went to Fortenberry’s campaign in 2016 through a group in California.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., authored a resolution on Capitol Hill that pledges US support of an automous Christian state.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., authored a resolution on Capitol Hill that pledges US support of an automous Christian state.
(IDC/Laurence L. Levin)

Fortenberry earlier said he expected to be indicted, releasing a recorded statement Tuesday on YouTube in which he denied the allegations and said he was unaware of the foreign contributions.

Claiming he felt “personally betrayed,” Fortenberry said of the FBI agents: “I let them into my house. I answered their questions. Later we went back and answered further questions. I told them what I knew and understood.”

NEBRASKA CONGRESSMAN EXPECTS INDICTMENT OVER ALLEGEDLY LYING TO FBI

“We will fight these charges. I did not lie to them,” Fortenberry continued in the video, which was recorded in his pickup truck and included his wife and dog. “This is wrong on so many levels.” 

If convicted of making a false statement to the FBI, Fortenberry could face up to five years in prison.

Fortenberry also asked his supporters for prayers, adding, “Hopefully this all ends happily for the sake of justice, for the sake of my own integrity, for the sake of the American system.”

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Fortenberry has represented Nebraska in Congress since 2005.

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.

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