© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Jeff Fortenberry, (R-NE) speaks during testimony by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a hearing on the State Department’s budget request for 2020 in Washington, U.S. March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry, who was convicted of lying to FBI investigators about illegal contributions to his 2016 re-election campaign, said on Saturday that he would be resigning from Congress.
Following a trial in Los Angeles federal court, the jury found Fortenberry, who represents Nebraska, guilty of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts, along with two counts of making false statements to federal investigators.
In a statement, Fortenberry said he would be resigning shortly because of difficulties in his “current circumstances.”
Prosecutors had accused Fortenberry of lying to investigators during two interviews in 2019 about $30,000 in campaign contributions he received in 2016 from Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury.
Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to federal election campaigns.
Fortenberry’s lawyers said he did not mean to mislead FBI agents but was caught off-guard by their interview request and suffered from a faulty memory.
Fortenberry, 61, has served in Congress since 2005.
The three felony charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 28 before U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld in Los Angeles.
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