A Republican political operative pardoned by President Donald Trump after his conviction in a 2012 bribery plot has been charged again with campaign-related crimes, this time involving a 2016 illegal campaign contribution scheme and a Russian national.
Jesse Benton, 43, of Louisville, Kentucky, was accused in an indictment unsealed Monday in federal court in Washington.
Trump pardoned Benton in December after his conviction in a case involving false records and campaign reports to the Federal Election Commission. Prosecutors said Benton and two others who were working on the 2012 presidential campaign of Ron Paul tried to hide $73,000 in payments to an Iowa state senator, Kent Sorenson, for his endorsement of Paul.
Both men appeared in court Monday. Benton’s attorney did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Wead attorney Jay Sekulow said Wead pleaded not guilty.