Fortenberry Arraigned, Pleads Not Guilty to Lying to Federal Investigators

Oct. 20, 2021, 6:14 p.m. ·

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry at a recent Lincoln Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday. (Photo by William Padmore, Nebraska Public Media News)

Nebraska U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to federal agents who were investigating illegal contributions to his campaign, and prosecutors revealed Wednesday that they plan to call a top aide to the congressman as a trial witness.

According to the Associated Press, Fortenberry made his initial appearance in federal court in Los Angeles via an online video-chatting service. A judge ordered him to post a $50,000 bond and told him not to have any contact with prosecution witnesses outside of his attorney's presence, but allowed him to avoid spending time in jail while the case proceeds. Prosecutors also revealed that they plan to call Fortenberry's longtime chief of staff, Dr. William "Reyn" Archer III, as a witness.

Fortenberry also stepped-down from his committee assignments on Wednesday according to multiple media reports, including his spot on the House Appropriations Committee. A trial date of December 14th has been set, but could change because of additional motions that are expected to be filed.