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Hamilton Town Councilman Convicted In Ron Paul Endorsement Case

© Leesburg Today - 10/23/2015

A jury in federal court in Iowa convicted a Hamilton town councilman Thursday on a charge related to his role in the 2012 Ron Paul presidential campaign, according to published reports.

Dimitri Kesari-a Hamilton councilman who also has served on the Loudoun County Planning Cmmission and the Loudoun Water board-was one of two former Paul staffers accused of buying an Iowa state senator's endorsement and then trying to cover it up.

Kesari, Paul's deputy campaign manager, was convicted of a charge of causing false records, The Des Moines (IA) Register reported, but acquitted of an obstruction of justice charge.

However, the jury-which also acquitted Jesse Benton, Paul's former campaign chairman of lying to the FBI-was deadlocked on three additional charges against Kesari: conspiracy, causing false campaign expenditures and scheming to falsify statements.

The judge gave federal prosecutors 10 days to decide whether they'll seek to retry Kesari, the Register said.

Kesari said nothing to reporters as he left the courthouse, the newspaper reported, though his attorney, Jesse Binnall, said he and his client would be ""evaluating"" options on how to move forward.

Kesari faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, The Associated Press reported.

Federal investigators said Benton and Kesari concealed the payment of $73,000 to former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson, who switched his support in the 2012 GOP nomination contest from then-Rep. Michele Bachmann to Paul.

Prosecutors argued that Kesari and Benton broke the law by paying Sorenson through a video production company so that his name would be kept off public campaign expenditure reports, the Register reported.

Binnall argued to jurors that the pay arrangement with Sorenson wasn't necessarily illegal, even if it was perhaps unseemly, the newspaper said.

And Paul testified that he believes the prosecutors were targeting his aides because of their ideology, the AP reported. He said he didn't think it was a coincidence that the indictments were filed just days before his son was scheduled to appear in a Republican presidential debate.

John Tate of Warrenton, a third Paul aide originally accused in the alleged cover-up, saw his charges dismissed before the trial after defense attorneys argued that they stemmed from FBI interviews last year that could not be used, the AP reported.

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