Judge Drops Multiple Charges Against Jesse Benton

Paul addresses a crowd of supporters at the University of South Florida Sun Dome in Tampa, before the start of the 2012 Republican National Convention. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A federal judge in Iowa has tossed most of the charges against longtime Paul family advisers Jesse Benton and John Tate.  

The case involves alleged misconduct in which associates of 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas were said to have made improper payments to Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson, who switched his endorsement from then-Paul rival Rep. Michele Bachmann.  

U.S. District Judge John A. Jarvey said four charges presented to the grand jury in the case against Benton and Tate were related to proffer statements, and it was "simply unreasonable" under the standard set in Kastigar v. U.S., to believe there was a separation between the charges in the indictment and material in proffer statements.  

"As presented to the grand jury, the proffer statements were part of the crimes; it handed down an indictment that listed the statements as overt acts in furtherance of the central scheme. Given that, it is not reasonable to believe the grand jury 'did not use' the statements," Harvey wrote.  

The judge granted a motion to dismiss all the charges against Tate and all but one count against Benton: a charge that he lied to federal investigators.  

Benton had been the campaign manager for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's 2014 campaign in Kentucky until resigning after news from Iowa of a Sorenson plea agreement. KCCI in Des Moines reported that both Sorenson and former Rep. Ron Paul are expected to testify at the trial, which is set to kick off next week.  

Benton stepped away from the operations of the Rand Paul-supporting America's Liberty PAC when the indictments came down.  


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