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BKLW Secures No Jail Time for Former Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Will Appeal Conviction

Thu 30th Jun 2022, Blog, Case Successes, federal false statements statute, Jeff Fortenberry, white collar defense

Former Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, seen here with wife Celeste and attorneys John Littrell and Ryan Fraser and paralegal Garrison Giali of Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP.

Former Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry will serve no jail time following convictions for making false statements to federal agents and concealing material facts said Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Tuesday morning. Mr. Fortenberry faced up to 15 years in prison.

In his sentencing, Judge Blumenfeld recognized that “by all accounts,” Mr. Fortenberry is a man of “exceptional character.”

“I was humbled today when the Judge noted that the testimony, including from government witnesses, established my honesty and integrity,” Mr. Fortenberry stated following the ruling. “I’m thankful Judge Blumenfeld took the time to learn about who I am and what I have done in my life.”

But the fight isn’t over. Mr. Fortenberry’s defense team, led by Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP attorneys John Littrell and Ryan Fraser and paralegal Garrison Giali, exposed serious anomalies in the government’s case, including the government’s unusual decision to bring the case in the Central District of California, even though none of Mr. Fortenberry’s statements were made there. BKLW argued that the prosecutor’s improper forum shopping deprived Mr. Fortenberry of his constitutional right to a jury of his peers.

The case also called into focus the huge potential for abuse by FBI and DOJ investigators of the federal false statements statute, 18 U.S.C. §1001.

“This was a frightening example of the harm an aggressive prosecutor can do with a vague criminal statute and hometown advantage,” BKLW Partner John Littrell said.

Mr. Fortenberry plans to appeal the verdict to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hear Jeff Fortenberry address the press following Tuesday’s proceedings.

BKLW specializes in white-collar criminal defense and investigations, complex civil ligation, and bankruptcy and insolvency matters. The firm’s trial results include both complete defense verdicts and multi-million dollar plaintiff victories. In cases resolved short of trial, the firm has secured numerous dismissals in defense cases and settlements in plaintiff cases totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars.