Attorneys for embattled Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska introduced a novel defense Friday in Fortenberry’s ongoing legal woes surrounding an alleged illegal campaign contribution. The Omaha World-Herald reported that Fortenberry’s legal team wants to bring in a memory loss expert to testify that the 18-year congressman was simply confused, and not lying, in interviews with FBI agents regarding a $30,000 donation allegedly from a Nigerian businessman. Fortenberry is accused of lying to the FBI – a felony.
MMW News Service has obtained a copy of the interrogation:
FBI Agent Sarah Anderson: Let the record show that it is 10:02 a.m. on July 17, 2019. I am Special Agent Sarah Anderson, with me is my colleague Deputy Agent Brad Carmichael along with Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and his attorney Robert Mills. This conversation is being recorded. Mr. Fortenberry, shall we get started?
Jeff Fortenberry: Start what?
Anderson: The questioning.
Fortenberry: Questioning what?
Anderson: Um, the campaign contribution you received from Gilbert Chagoury.
Fortenberry: Is that what this is? I thought we were meeting here at Applebee’s for lunch.
Anderson: No, this is a conference room at the FBI headquarters.
Fortenberry: That’s too bad. I had my mouth set for some hot wings. Do you think we could send for some? I like the ranch on the side. Don’t you hate it when they put the ranch on the wings? I’d like to be able to control how much ranch I’m eating, thank you.
Anderson: Well…we might break for lunch later, depending on how long this goes, but, no, we aren’t going to send out for wings. If I may, we’d like to talk to you about a fundraiser you held in 2016.
Fortenberry: Is it 2016 already? My, how time flies.
Anderson: Actually, it is 2019, but we’re talking about a fundraiser you held in 2016, congressman.
Fortenberry: I’m a member of Congress? Cool! I’ve gotta bunch of guys from high school to tell off. And that one smart ass teacher who said I’d never amount to anything. What was his name…
Brad Carmichael: Look, I don’t know what game you’re playing here, but we know what you did. We’ve got the phone recordings and witnesses to prove it, so why don’t you just drop the act and tell us what you know.
Robert Mills: I object to your confrontational tone. My client agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to…
Fortenberry: Hey, how long have you been sitting there? My name is Jeff.
Mills: Yes, I know. I’m Robert Mills, your attorney.
Fortenberry: Nice of you to meet us here for lunch. Hope you’re hungry, I ordered us some hot wings.
Carmichael: Let’s cut the crap, congressman. Just tell us about the $30,000! (sound of a fist pounding the table)
Anderson: Brad! Sit down, I told you we had to approach this dispassionately. If you can’t do that then I suggest you leave.
Carmichael: He’s messing with us! Can you see that!
Anderson: Go to your office and calm down. (sound of papers rustling and then a door slamming). Let the record show that Deputy Agent Brad Carmichael is no longer in the room. Now, Congressman Fortenberry, please try to focus and answer the questions as best you can. We’re talking about a fundraiser you had in California in 2016. You’d just gotten an endorsement from then-candidate Donald Trump when…
Fortenberry: Donald Trump? The guy from “The Apprentice”?
Anderson: (sigh) Yes, President Donald Trump.
Fortenberry: HE’S WHAT? Wow, that’s too crazy for even me to believe, and as you can see, I’m clearly insane and totally not responsible for my actions.
Anderson: (clapping) Focus! You did a fundraiser in 2016 and accepted $30,000 from Gilbert Chagoury. We have a recording of a staffer telling you that he was Nigerian and the contribution was illegal, but you dismissed it and took it anyway.
Fortenberry: Now why would anyone give me $30,000?
Anderson: For your campaign.
Fortenberry: Oh, yes, Congress. I remember now. I represent the great state of (snaps his fingers)…
Fortenberry: Nebraska! Home of Las Vegas.
Mills: I apologize, Agent Anderson. He gets like this when he hasn’t had his nom noms. I have a candy bar with me, perhaps we could take a break while he eats it. He’ll be able to answer your questions much better then.
Anderson: (long pause) Fine. We’ll take a 10-minute break.
Fortenberry: Great! And check on those wings while you’re out there. I’m never coming to this restaurant again. The service is so slooooow. (sound of a door opening and closing)
Mills: OK, she’s gone.
Fortenberry: (not realizing the recording device is still running) Am I pulling off this whole “I’m too old to remember” bit? I never thought I was a great actor, but I am trying. I mean, I don’t even like hot wings. Too spicy!
Mills: I don’t know if it’s working, but it’s all we got. Here, take this chocolate bar and sit on it. If the questioning becomes too intense just pretend you pooped your pants.
Editor’s note: The opening paragraph of this story is entirely true. We realize that you come to this website only for news that is loosely tethered to reality. We regret the error and promise it will not happen again.