Politics - News Analysis

Trump-Loving GOP Congressman Caught On Tape — TWICE — For Soliciting Bribes

Now his lawyers are asking for something absolutely ridiculous.

Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska is in some pretty hot water. The 9-term lawmaker was indicted in October on charges of lying to the FBI about illegal campaign donations from a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire, shortly after predicting that he would be arrested.

Now we know why he was so sure of his impending doom: It turns out the feds got him on tape on at least two occasions as they were investigating the case.

That’s not the most shocking part, however. We see politicians getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar all the time. What’s odd about this particular case is what Fortenberry’s lawyers decided to do about those tapes.

In a truly bizarre move, his legal team asked the judge to disqualify the federal prosecutor in charge of the case, on the grounds that he shouldn’t be allowed to testify against Fortenberry for lying to him personally, while also prosecuting him in a “fair” way.

They argue that his involvement in the investigation makes him a witness and that it may unfairly influence the jury.

If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. Yes, investigators and prosecutors are most generally two branches of law that don’t cross paths. But if you stole a car and then called up the guy who was going to prosecute you for it and told him you didn’t steal it, saying that he can’t then testify that you lied to him, you’d get laughed out of court.

It’s a desperate move for Fortenberry’s team. You could argue that they have no other option, since the reasoning behind making this claim is that the prosecutor would have to testify that he believed Fortenberry had lied to him, but now there are tapes.

The case is all but proved in advance.

But the truly baffling thing about this legal move is that they’re clearly not considering what would happen if they somehow did manage to have the Assistant US Attorney in charge dismissed.

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Because the charge is for lying, all the new prosecution would need to do is say “Fortenberry lied to that guy, and we have tapes of it.” With the recordings, there’s almost no reason for the prosecutor to even need to testify.

Then again, nobody ever accused anybody who still thinks Donald Trump won the 2020 election of being very smart.

And Trump has of course defended him in the past:

“Is there no justice in our country?” LOL.

Andrew Simpson
meet the author

Andrew is a dark blue speck in deep red Southwestern Arizona, writing with the conviction of 17 years at the keyboard and too much politics to even stand. When not furiously stabbing the keys on breaking news stories, he writes poetry, prose, essays, haiku, lectures, stories for grief therapy, wedding ceremonies, detailed instructions on making doughnuts from canned biscuit dough (more sugar than cinnamon — duh), and equations to determine the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow. A wife, three kids, and a grandson round out the story, and in his spare time, Andrew loves to think about how nice it would be to have spare time.

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