LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A federal jury in Frankfort, Kentucky, has convicted Jerry Lundergan, the father of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, of funneling more than more than $206,670 of illegal corporate contributions to his daughter's failed 2014 challenge of Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.
According to a spokesperson with the Eastern District of Kentucky/U.S. Attorney’s office, the jury convicted Lundergan and co-defendant Dale Emmons of all counts after about two hours of deliberation Thursday. The decision caps a month-long trial in U.S. District Court.
Lundergan used funds of his company S.R. Holding Company, Inc. to pay for "audio-video production, lighting, recorded telephone calls, and campaign consulting" during his daughter's campaign, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a news release. Emmons and his company, Emmons & Company, Inc., also received monthly payments from S.R. Holding Company in exchange for services relating to the campaign. The U.S. Attorney's office also found Emmons used funds from his company to pay for campaign expanses ranging from "recorded telephone calls to technological support services" and more.
Lundergan's and Emmons' actions caused Grimes' campaigns to unintentionally file false reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
"The jury’s verdict reinforces the fundamental principle that rules apply to everyone," United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr. said in a written statement. "The defendants' actions were deliberately designed to evade reporting requirements that serve to protect the integrity and transparency of federal elections. Stated simply, they knew what they were doing was wrong. This prosecution would not have been possible without the dedicated work of the trial team and all our law enforcement partners."
Lundergan was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, one count of making corporate campaign contributions, four counts of causing the submission of false statements to the FEC and four counts of causing the falsification of documents with the intent to obstruct and impede a matter within the FEC’s jurisdiction. Emmons was convicted of one count of conspiracy, one count of making corporate campaign contributions, two counts of causing the submission of false statements and two counts of causing the falsification of documents with the intent to obstruct and impede.
Defense attorney Guthrie True told reporters afterward that Lundergan will appeal. Emmons' attorney didn't immediately comment. The men will appear for sentencing on Jan. 22, 2020. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, "they each face up to 5 years in prison for the conspiracy conviction, each corporate campaign contribution conviction, and each false statement conviction; up to 20 years in prison for each obstruction conviction; and a maximum fine of $250,000 per conviction."
"We are disappointed in the verdict but we understood from the outset that the deck would be stacked against us with prejudicial evidence that we believe was erroneously admitted," True said in a statement sent to WDRB News. "As a result we have practiced the case for appeal and have raised throughout the case significant issues which will be addressed on appeal. We are confident that the campaign finance laws have been improperly applied in this case and that Mr. Lundergan will ultimately be vindicated."
Lundergan's daughter, Alison Lundergan Grimes, was in the courtroom Thursday when the verdicts were read. Lundergan remained stoic for the verdict. Some light sobs were heard from people in the courtroom.
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