Fortenberry’s legal team combatting federal case with integrity-doubting claims
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (WOWT) - Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s legal team is attempting to cast doubt on the integrity of the Government’s case against him with new court filings on Monday.
Fortenberry’s legal team claimed prosecutors are withholding critical information to his defense.
His lawyers wanted to know the details of the agreement between federal prosecutors and the informant who made the phone call to Fortenberry — the call that he’s accused of lying about the details to investigators.
The government said it will produce the document in due time. That is if they decide to put the informant on the witness stand.
On Monday, Fortenberry’s defense team wondered whether the FBI’s special agent in charge of the investigation, Todd Carter, tainted the case.
The congressman’s defense team included examples in the documentation, saying the agent appeared to have shared racist anti-Muslim and anti-Arab images on social media. Fortenberry’s attorneys called the nine-term congressman a legislative leader in Middle Eastern affairs.
In response, the government said it’s still not sure which witnesses will be called to the stand — so they don’t have to fork over the evidence just yet.
Congressman Fortenberry was indicted back in October. He said he was “shocked and stunned” by the allegations.
Fortenberry is accused of lying to the FBI when it comes to a $30,000 campaign donation in 2015 from a foreign national looking to influence U.S. politics.
The government said he didn’t know about it at the time. Its case hinges on what the congressman told an informant, and federal agents, years later — all of which is on tape, the government claimed.
However, the government said Fortenberry’s defense’s latest requests are overly broad and that prosecutors have already shared more than 11,000 documents related to the case.
A judge will rule on Monday’s questions at a hearing in three weeks.
Fortenberry’s team added that they “find it hard to believe” the informant and lead investigator would not be called as witnesses in the government’s case.
The trial is scheduled for Feb. 15.
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