Ex-Ron Paul aide convicted in campaign bribery case
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An aide to former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has been found guilty on one count of falsifying campaign records in a federal corruption case, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

In August, the FBI charged three members of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign with conspiracy, alleging they arranged payments to former state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-Iowa) to switch his endorsement from then-Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannKlobuchar urges CNN town hall audience: 'That's when you guys are supposed to cheer, OK?' Michele Bachmann praises Trump: Americans will 'never see a more godly, biblical president' Will Biden lead a 'return to normalcy' in 2020? MORE (R-Minn.), who was also running for president at the time.

Earlier this month, an Iowa judge threw out four of the five counts against Jesse Benton, who most recently a ran super-PAC backing Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE's (R-Ky.) presidential bid, and all of the charges against John Tate, a longtime Paul family aide.


The judge did not throw out any of the five counts against Dimitrios Kesari, who served as the deputy campaign manager in Iowa for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. On Thursday, Kesari was found guilty of falsifying campaign records.

He was acquitted on an obstruction charge, and the jury was unable to come to a decision on the three other charges remaining against him.

Benton, who is married to Rand Paul’s niece, was acquitted on Thursday of making a false statement to the FBI, the final charge that remained against him.

“God is great,” Benton said as he left the courthouse, according to Bloomberg. “It feels good.”

Benton previously served as campaign manager for Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' Pelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence MORE (R-Ky.) in 2014. He resigned from that position after the federal investigation became public.

“We are pleased to learn that Jesse Benton has been vindicated today of wrongdoing,” said Benton’s lawyer, Roscoe Howard, Jr.. “The jury members worked diligently through the information presented to them and their decision reinforces that he was wrongly charged – and always has been.”

Kesari's conviction could be another damaging blow to Rand Paul's campaign as he struggles in the polls.

Sorenson, the state lawmaker, pleaded guilty to contributing to false FEC reports and obstruction of justice in 2014.

Ron Paul was called as a witness at the trial and, according to Bloomberg, testified that he had no knowledge of the scheme. 

Ron Paul accused government prosecutors of being politically motivated, noting that they went after his close aides as his son runs for president.

“I don’t consider that a coincidence,” Ron Paul said Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

When the charges were announced in August, Benton’s lawyer made the same claim, noting that the indictment landed just before the first GOP presidential debate. 

This story was updated at 3:12 p.m.