Rep. Fortenberry’s legal team calls lead FBI agent in case racist
Fortenberry's attorneys are claiming the lead FBI agent in the case could have tainted the investigation because of an anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Attorneys for Rep. Jeff Fortenberry have submitted a new motion asking the court to order federal prosecutors to disclose more information in the case against the congressman.
Fortenberry is accused of lying to FBI agents, who were investigating illegal contributions to his campaign.
On top of asking for additional information, Fortenberry’s attorneys are claiming the lead FBI agent in the case could have tainted the investigation because of an anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias.
The motion filed by the defense says the special agent “appears to have been sharing and ‘liking’ racist images and content on social media platforms even as he led an investigation against congressman Fortenberry, a legislative leader in Middle Eastern affairs.”
This investigation comes after a Lebanese community in Los Angeles held a fundraiser for Fortenberry where he raised $37,000 at the event, $30,000 coming from a foreign national.
Fortenberry pleaded not guilty back in October to charges of one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts along with two counts of making false statements to federal investigators looking into illegal contributions to his 2016 campaign.
Fortenberry’s legal team did file a motion to dismiss the case in early November, but that was denied.
A Fortenberry spokesperson said in a statement Monday’s motions, “highlights the hypocrisy of this California prosecutor withholding critical information from the defense team, including the disturbing possibility of bias on the part of the FBI agent who led the investigation setting up Rep. Fortenberry.
“The defense team is asking the Court to require the government to meet its obligations to produce all the relevant materials to provide some straight answers on questions at the core of this case.”
Here are the other requests from the defense team in the motion:
- How the government viewed congressman Fortenberry’s statements in the Nebraska and Washington, D.C., interviews at the time they were made, and whether those statements actually influenced the investigation, or were even capable of influencing the investigation.
- The deals the government made with its informants, including Individual H, the person the government recruited to set up congressman Fortenberry by placing a surreptitious 10-minute call to him that the government would later quiz the Congressman about nearly one year later.
- Whether the government followed its own guidelines governing how and when to investigate members of Congress.