Jeff Fortenberry: Nigerian billionaire implicated for case wey fit send US lawmaker to 15 years in prison

Jeff Fortenberry

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One jury find out say Nebraska Republican congressman Jeff Fortenberry (for dis foto) lie about im involvement wit Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury

US lawmaker fit face expulsion from Congress afta im lie about funding ties to Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire businessman, Gilbert Chagoury.

One federal jury find out say Jeff Fortenberry, one Republican from Nebraska, lie to di FBI about taking illegal donations from Oga Chagoury.

Im fit gbab 15 years sentence for prison on three felony counts.

Di case don also renew attention on di access of foreign influencers on US politics.

E dey illegal for foreign nationals to make political contributions, but Oga Chagoury, 75, don make plenti contributions. For 2019, US goment fine am $1.8m (£1.4m) and dem investigate some pipo wey benefit from im donations.

For 2016, im illegally donate $30,000 (£22,736) to Fortenberry, e pass di funds to di congressman through donors for one Los Angeles event.

One Paris-based industrialist, Oga Chagoury na high profile. Im name dey for one wing of di Louvre Museum, and dem bin don deny am US visa before sake of accuse say e get ties to Hezbollah militants.

Im be once a top advisor to Nigerian military ruler Sani Abacha, wey dem later find say e tiff billions from di kontri as di head of state for di 1990s.

Oga Chagoury also be ambassador to di Vatican for di island nation of St Lucia. Im be devout Catholic, he and Fortenberry, 61, don dey linked to one Washington-based nonprofit called In Defense of Christians.

Officials neva fit tok why im target di congressman, but US Justice Department document claim dem advise Oga Chagoury to “contribute to US politicians from less populous states” because di gifts go dey “more noticeable”.

For one recorded phone call, dem tell Fortenberry say im go likely receive $30,000 illegally through associates of Oga Chagoury.

But in meetings wit FBI agents, Fortenberry deny say im get any knowledge of di money, say im for dey “horrified” to hear dat kain claim.

Prosecutors argue say im “repeatedly” hide di donation “to protect im job, im reputation and im close associates”.

On Thursday, jurors for im trial for Los Angeles tok for about two hours before dem find am guilty on charges of making false states and say e dey hide facts from federal agents.

“If we wan make anybody follow di law, ultimately e go start wit di lawmakers,” Chief prosecutor Mack Jenkins say. “We hold dem to a higher standard.”

Dem go sentence am on 28 June, but im don tok say e go appeal di verdict.

Although e no dey required for am to appeal di case.

Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats for di US House of Representatives don call for am to resign. If e no resign, dem go almost certain expelled am, as na so di case of former Congress members wey dem convict of felony take waka.