(TotalConservative.com) – President Joe Biden’s administration ended 2023 with some bad news for its Justice Department and good news for the GOP as an appeals court overturned the conviction of a high-profile Republican.
The day after Christmas, a federal appeals court threw out the 2022 conviction of Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska. The conviction was for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during an investigation, yet the court just ruled it was an improper trial.
According to a report from The Hill, US District Judge James Donato said in the decision that the Republican congressman’s trial “took place in a state where no charged crime was committed.” Donato also wrote that the trial took place “before a jury” selected from “federal agencies that investigated” Fortenberry. He ruled that the US Constitution “does not permit” trials to be conducted in this way, meaning the Republican lawmaker’s “convictions are reversed” in order for Fortenberry to “be retried, if at all, in a proper venue.”
The case was brought against Fortenberry for allegedly accepting a $30,200 campaign donation in 2016 from a Nigerian businessman. The congressman told the FBI during their interviews that he wasn’t aware of any contributions to his 2016 campaign that were illegal, contrary to court filings indicating the bureau listened in on a previous phone call and overheard a witness telling Fortenberry the $30,200 most likely came from the Nigerian businessman.
The problem with the case was not the evidence behind the conviction but the trial’s location. Fortenberry was interviewed at his residence in Lincoln, Nebraska, and again in Washington, D.C., at his attorney’s office. The recent ruling was because the FBI tried him in Los Angeles, which the bureau justified by the fact that they were running their investigation out of their office there.
The appellate court rejected the argument, concluding that there’s “no support” in the text of the Constitution, the statute, or in any “historical practice” to support the venue change.
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