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House Rep. Convicted of Lying to FBI



Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) was convicted of lying to the FBI.

Fortenberry was found guilty of one count of falsifying and concealing material facts and two counts of making false statements to FBI agents during an investigation into Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian billionaire who made a $30,000 contribution to the lawmaker’s campaign in 2016.

Prosecutors centered their case around a 2018 phone call between Fortenberry and Dr. Elias Ayoub, who hosted the 2016 fundraiser where Fortenberry received the donation.

Ayoub was cooperating with the FBI when he told Fortenberry on a recorded call that he’d given the $30,000 to friends who attended the fundraiser so that they’d use it to contribute to Fortenberry’s campaign. Ayoub told Fortenberry, who was unaware that the call was being recorded, that the money had probably come from Chagoury.

The defense argued the relative insignificance of the donation.

“Do you think he would put his reputation on the line for $30,000 when he had $1.5 million?” asked defense attorney John Littrell. “That’s not possible.”


Fortenberry faces fines and up to five years in prison for each of the counts. His sentencing is set for June 28.

As of this reporting, the nine-term congressman is seeking reelection in the upcoming midterms.


Nebraska US Rep. Fortenberry found guilty in campaign probe