Republican Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska resigned his seat in Congress one week after being convicted on three counts following his trial, but is now arguing he should not serve any time in jail for his offenses.
"Former Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry should not go to prison because he’s old (over 60), has no money (used his campaign funds and dipped into a line of credit to fund his defense team) and 'lost his job, his reputation and many friends,' his attorneys say," The North Platte Telegraph reported Wednesday. "Further, Fortenberry’s defense team wrote Tuesday, his wife and five daughters desperately need him to stay out of prison."
The newspaper reported "Fortenberry’s defense team pulled out all the stops as their client prepares to find out his fate from U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. in a Los Angeles courtroom June 28."
Fortenberry was convicted for trying to conceal the source of $30,000 in illegal, foreign campaign contributions and two counts of lying to federal agents.
"Among the 64 people who submitted letters on his behalf: three current or former members of Congress (none from Nebraska); Nebraska Lt. Gov. Mike Foley; Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning; and Bishop James Conley of Lincoln’s archdiocese," the newspaper reported. "Prosecutors disagree with the probation recommendation. The federal anti-corruption team, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mack Jenkins, asked Blumenfeld to sentence Fortenberry to six months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, and 150 hours of community service. Pointedly, prosecutors also asked the judge to fine Fortenberry $30,000."
The newspaper seemed unimpressed with the argument's from Fortenberry's lawyers.
"Celeste Fortenberry said her husband has “suffered public slander about his character extending far beyond the counts of his conviction.” At one point, his attorneys argued that serving in Congress 'exposed Mr. Fortenberry and his family to threats and vandalism.' The memo didn’t detail threats or vandalism, though Fortenberry once demanded prosecution for whomever put googly eyes on a campaign sign and changed his name to Fartenberry," the newspaper reported.
Read the full report.