• Attorneys for GOP Rep. Jeff Fortenberry say he was confused when questioned by the FBI.
  • A federal grand jury in October indicted him on charges of lying to the FBI in connection with an investigation into potential campaign finance violations. 
  • His attorneys plan to call up an expert who can speak to the fallibility of memory and aging.

Attorneys representing GOP Rep. Jeff Fortenberry plan to argue the Nebraska lawmaker was confused because of his age during FBI questioning on potential campaign finance violations, according to new court documents.

Pretrial briefs filed on Friday say his attorneys plan to call up an expert who can speak to the fallibility of memory and aging to contest the accusation that he lied to the FBI, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

According to the report, his lawyers said they wanted his entire conversation with the FBI played for the jury to show agents’ questions were repetitive and Fortenberry was confused rather than lying.

Representatives for Fortenberry did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment on Sunday.

Prosecutors pushed back on the request, saying such an expert would only make common-sense observations about memory, according to the report.

A federal grand jury in October indicted Fortenberry, 61, on charges of lying to the FBI. The indictment charged him with one count of “scheming to falsify and conceal material facts” and two counts of making false statements to investigators in connection with an FBI investigation into potential campaign finance violations. 

Fortenberry is among several lawmakers who investigators said received illegal campaign contributions from the Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, violating federal laws banning foreign nationals from donating to political candidates.

“A number of years ago, some very bad people illegally transferred money into my campaign, along with several other members of Congress,” Fortenberry said in October in response to the accusations. “They were caught, they were punished and they’ve been held accountable, thankfully.”

According to an FBI affidavit filed earlier this year, the donations went to Fortenberry’s campaign in March 2016.

“I answered their questions. Later, we went back and answered further questions,” Fortenberry said in a YouTube video. “I told them what I knew and what I understood. They’ve accused me of lying to them and are charging me with this. We’re shocked. We’re stunned. I feel so personally betrayed. We thought we were trying to help and so now we will have to fight.”

Fortenberry has pleaded not guilty to all charges. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Tuesday before US District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. of Los Angeles. A trial date has not yet been set, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

Insider’s Grace Panetta and Sonam Sheth contributed to this report.

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