“Deep corruption”: You mean they lied? FBI lies, entrapment led to lighter sentence for former Republican representative


LOS ANGELES, CA- If only the courts in Washington, DC were as honest as courts in other parts of the country perhaps their judges would see through the charade being perpetrated concerning the January 6 “insurrection,” the “worst day in American history since the Civil War!!!”

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, however for a former Republican representative, having his case heard outside of Washington, DC was very helpful, even if it did take place in California.

According to The Federalist, former Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, a Republican was sentenced to probation for lying to the federal government. As has likely happened in the January 6 incident, as well as other high-profile cases such as the “kidnapping” plot involving Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Fortenberry fell victim to an entrapment campaign hatched by the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Both agencies are accused of lying to entrap Fortenberry, using two men who broke campaign finance laws in order to betray him into believing he was helping persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

In March, a Los Angeles jury convicted the former lawmaker on three felony counts of lying to the FBI and engaging in a scheme to cover it up. Fortenberry was looking at a sentence of up to 15 years—five years on each count. Prosecutors sought a six-month prison sentence, however U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, Jr., instead sentenced him to two years of probation, as well as a $25,000 fine and 320 hours of community service.

In assigning the sentence, Blumenfeld noted that everyone involved in the case, including prosecution witnesses, spoke to Fortenberry’s “exceptional character.” Fortenberry is expected to appeal the convictions.

Fortenberry was charged under U.S.C. §1001, which states it is a “federal crime to tell a government official or agency a ‘material’ lie.” You know, like Michael Sussmann did, yet he was somehow acquitted. Oh, he played for the “right team” and was acquitted in a Washington, DC courtroom.

A “material lie” is defined as something where if the government were to believe it, that matter would have the ability to affect an official or agency’s course of conduct. Kind of like what Sussmann did to the FBI. According to The Federalist, that is specifically what the FBI and DOJ were guilty of doing in the Fortenberry case.

In February 2016, Fortenberry participated in a fundraiser in Los Angeles. The fundraiser was used by a man named Toufic Baaklini, a U.S. citizen, Maronite Catholic, and advocate for Christians in the Middle East to channel money of a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire, Gilbert Chagoury, to Fortenberry’s campaign, a practice which is illegal.

During the trial, Baaklini, a longtime friend of Fortenberry’s testified that he knew such “conduit” donations were illegal but he misled the former lawmaker by having $30,000 of Chagoury’s money divided among a number of fundraiser attendees so as not to raise any red flags.

Another man, Dr. Elias Ayoub, another Maronite Catholic who also helped organize the fundraiser, admitted in court that he had made a number of illegal campaign contributions involving Chagoury’s money, including to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).

Both also testified that Fortenberry was unaware the contributions had originated from Chagoury, with Baaklini testifying that Fortenberry had raised that very issue early on in the fundraising process.

In March, KOLN-TV in Lincoln, Nebraska reported Baaklini admitted in court to Fortenberry’s lawyer, John Littrell that he didn’t want the legislator to know about the illegal nature of the contributions despite the congressman specifically asked if there was anything out of sorts about the fundraiser.

“You lied to protect him, didn’t you?” Littrell asked Baaklini, to which he replied “yes.”

Now, based on that admission, one might think that Baaklini would be facing possible prison time, however this is the FBI and the DOJ and they were looking to snag a much bigger target—a sitting U.S. congressman and a Republican to boot. With that in mind, they used both Baaklini and Ayoub as witnesses in Fortenberry’s trial.

Fortenberry isn’t the type of person that most of us think of when we consider Washington, DC politicians. As a sitting member of Congress from Nebraska’s first congressional district since 2005, he was held as a man of integrity including across the aisle.


For example, in sworn testimony, California Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, a liberal and Chaldean Catholic who had worked with Fortenberry on aiding Christians in the Middle East spoke highly of his character.

“I think he brings honor to what he does because of the individual he is,” Eshoo said. “He’s faith-filled, he’s honest. His word is always good, and I can’t say that about all members of Congress, and you find out the hard way.”

She also said he has a strong reputation of following the rules.

However Fortenberry often had a target on his back, especially during reelection campaigns, mostly due to his undying defense of the unborn and women harmed by the scourge of abortion. Despite that, he easily won reelection every two years.

That of course raises the question. If he is widely praised by the opposing  party as being honest, and where he directly  asked Baaklini if the 2016 LA fundraiser was legitimate and whereby he was told there were no issues, why then did the government decide to target him and how did they build their case against him?

Of course, they set him up, using Ayoub as an unwitting dupe. In June 2018, they had taped a phone call with Fortenberry, a call which concerned the congressman enough that he told his wife, chief of staff and his attorney that he had renewed concerns about the 2016 LA fundraiser.

In March 2019, the FBI went to Fortenberry’s Nebraska home and deliberately misled him and his wife, claiming they were investigating a national security issue and not a crime.

By using the “national security” angle, the FBI was able to turn the temperature down and ally any possible concerns he may have had, since he works on a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, which deals with U.S. foreign relations.

Further, the FBI asked the congressman about a number of other matters, however later claimed Fortenberry lied about not knowing Ayoub. Of course, the FBI was a bit deceptive, showing Fortenberry a 10-year-old photo of Ayoub, where he had dyed black hair and black eyebrows. Now, Ayoub, who is 77 has silver hair and eyebrows.

One of the FBI agents asked Fortenberry if he was aware lying to a federal agent was a crime, to which he replied yes, he did. To be fair, his phone conversation with Ayoub nine months earlier had long since faded from memory and details were sketchy due to the time frame in between.

In addition, Fortenberry tended to “multi-task” during fundraising calls, as confirmed by his wife Celeste, because he did not enjoy doing them.

In recalling details of the call, Fortenberry missed the part where Chagoury had likely contributed to the 2016 fundraiser. The Department of Justice claimed his failure to recall that detail was an example which showed he was attempting to deceive the FBI. On the same call, Fortenberry had asserted he would be interested in doing another fundraiser with Ayoub.

In a subsequent interview in July 2019, the FBI lied to Fortenberry and his attorney, former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy (R), who specifically asked agents if Fortenberry was a target of their investigation. They lied and said he was not.

After a period of time, the FBI and DOJ put together a case, claiming Fortenberry had not only lied but also attempted to deliberately deceive the FBI.

As part of their case, they included the testimony of a former lawyer, who testified she was unable to remember the contents of her June 2018 conversation with Fortenberry. She said she would have remembered, however, if he had mentioned anything about possible illegal donations.

This same attorney also testified that she spoke to Fortenberry a lot, which would seen to confirm Eshoo’s testimony as to the former Congressman’s integrity and commitment to the rule of law.

Despite all of that, the DOJ argued Fortenberry “willfully” withheld self-incriminating evidence about the fundraiser, despite the fact Baaklini testified that Fortenberry directly asked whether the contributions were illegal early on and admitted he had lied to Fortenberry when he said they were not.

Also despite the fact the alleged crimes took place in Nebraska where he was on the phone, the DOJ wanted a change of venue to a state more favorable to their case, claiming Fortenberry’s actions had relevance to an investigation in California. They managed to get the case changed to Los Angeles, another leftist hellhole where it would be harder for Fortenberry, a conservative, to get fair treatment.

It is expected Fortenberry will use the change of venue as part of his appeal, along with the fact that Fortenberry clearly didn’t materially lie to the FBI.

The government’s conduct in this case is very disturbing, but after the Whitmer and “Insurrection” cases, we should hardly be surprised. In fact, an FBI testified under oath that he had lied to Fortenberry at his home in March 2019, and admitted that this is part of the FBI’s “normal tactics” to get the truth. Got that? Lie in order to get to the truth.

There was clearly no basis to pursue a criminal investigation of Fortenberry, but as we saw in the conduct of the FBI during the Trump administration, it was clearly a rogue agency hell-bent on going after conservatives, including the sitting president. In the case of Fortenberry they targeted a man and destroyed him, a sitting congressman who by all accounts had a “sterling reputation” for integrity.

Despite knowing that it was Baaklini and Ayoub who had in fact violated the law, and despite Baaklini’s admission that Fortenberry had asked him directly whether the LA fundraiser was questionable, they still went after the congressman.

Fortenberry might be accused of not being attentive enough during fundraising calls, however that doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal prosecution. Yet here we are.

We have seen increasing crossing of lines between the three branches of government, the latest being when the Department of Justice publicly criticized the United States Supreme Court over their decisions involving the Second Amendment and Roe v. Wade. It was an unprecedented breach of the separation of powers.

The fact the FBI and DOJ—both part of the executive branch of government—targeted a sitting United States Congressman for a criminal investigation over political differences, is chilling.

As Tom Nash writing in The Federalist notes:

Unhealthy competition between the branches will consume them and devour any chance that public officials will rise above petty bickering and destructive partisanship to cooperate in the best interests of the country. By enlisting the judiciary to turn that threat of prison into a potential reality, the FBI and DOJ have durned the system on its head. What the founders intended as an aggressive but civil competition is now in danger of becoming a deadly serious game which menaces the civil liberties and freedoms of those who dare to undertake public service.

This was clearly a political hit job. According to Nash, Fortenberry was targeted because he has been working to defend the right of Middle Eastern Christians to “live and practice their faith.”

Have you been paying attention to the show trial taking place in Washington, DC over the January 6 “insurrection?” What happened to Fortenberry is instructive as to what is also going on in Washington, DC. A political hit job with no basis in law or getting to the truth…just settling political scores.

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