He won’t be lying in a prison bed.
A former Nebraska congressman convicted of lying to the FBI was sentenced Tuesday to two years of probation and fined $25,000.
In 2016, Fortenberry accepted a $30,000 donation funneled from a Lebanese-Nigerian businessman. It’s illegal for U.S. politicians to accept foreign donations.
Two years later, a donor-turned-informant told Fortenberry that the money likely came from a foreign source and was therefore illegal. However, when questioned by the FBI, Fortenberry said he had no knowledge of any outlawed campaign contributions.
That taped lie led to Fortenberry’s conviction and Tuesday’s sentencing hearing. Federal judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr., who was appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2018, said Fortenberry was an upstanding man and therefore didn’t deserve a prison sentence.
Instead, Fortenberry will spend two years on probation and must perform 320 hours of community service. Prosecutors had been seeking a six-month prison term.
“Mr. Fortenberry chose the wrong path,” Blumenfeld said. “He decided to respond with dishonesty rather than honesty, and lying, especially in this context, is certainly a serious matter.”
Fortenberry has remained defiant and said he plans to appeal the initial conviction.
Nebraska state Sen. Mike Flood, also a Republican, was favored in Tuesday’s special election to win Fortenberry’s seat representing Nebraska’s 1st District, which includes Lincoln and some Omaha suburbs.
With News Wire Services