Conservative accused of funneling Russian money to Trump campaign dies ahead of trial: report
(Photo via Doug Wead website)

According to a report from Florida Bulldog, a conservative political commentator and author of a book on Donald Trump's presidency passed away from a stroke while awaiting trial over an alleged plot to funnel Russian money into the former president's 2016 presidential campaign.

As Charisma News notes, Roy Douglas “Doug” Wead was 75 at the time of his death and, following his stroke, "had been in the hospital since and suffered two heart attacks there. He was in a coma and had previously asked family members that he not be kept alive on life support. He died Friday after being taken off the ventilator."

Attorneys for Wead, which included high-powered attorney Jay Sekulow, who served as an attorney for Trump during his first impeachment trial, informed U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden of his death on Friday.

As the Florida Bulldog reports, Wead was "under federal indictment for conspiring to illegally funnel Russian money to the Trump campaign," adding he "and co-defendant Jesse R. Benton of Louisville, KY, pleaded not guilty in September. Wead was released on his own recognizance, Benton on a $25,000 bond."

READ MORE: Two longtime Republican operatives indicted — and there's a Russia connection

"Benton, 43, ran the pro-Trump Great America super PAC and got a December 2020 pardon from Trump for his 2016 conviction on conspiracy and other charges arising from a 2012 campaign scheme to buy a political endorsement in the 2012 Iowa caucuses for ex-congressman Ron Paul," the report states. "Federal prosecutors said Wead and Benton 'conspired together to solicit a political contribution from a Russian foreign national,' then later filed false campaign finance reports to make it appear as if Benton made the contribution."

According to Florida Bulldog's Dan Christensen, "The Russian is not named in the indictment but is described as a business associate of Wead who wired $100,000 from a bank in Vienna, Austria to a political consulting business owned by Benton. Wead had told his Russian friend that in exchange for the payment he could meet Trump."

The report notes that investigators accused the two of creating a “fake invoice for ‘consulting services’" and put together a cover story to hide the source of the funds.

According to Christensen, "The 20-page grand jury indictment does not name Trump, and Department of Justice prosecutors have taken unusual precautions to prevent public disclosure of 'confidential and law enforcement-sensitive information' in the case. A court protective order now veils documents disclosed to the defense as part of the government’s pre-trial discovery obligations."

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