The jury has returned across-the-board guilty verdicts in the federal conspiracy trial of three senior staffers from former Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.
Campaign Director John Tate, Campaign Chair Jesse Benton, and Campaign Deputy Director Dimitri Kesari all could serve decades in prison for charges related to disguising payments to an Iowa state senator in exchange for his endorsement of Ron Paul. Upon hearing the verdict, Benton's wife Valori, who is Paul's granddaughter, began to audibly cry.
Government prosecutors say the men threw sand in the eyes of Iowa voters and made a mockery out of the truth.
Kesari's attorney Jesse Binnall says there will be an appeal, as the staffers didn’t break law. He contends the government was overzealous in its prosecution.
"We hope in the long run that justice and the law prevails," says Binnall.
During the trial, the defense argued it's common for campaign workers to be paid through a third party, saying that the Federal Election Commission in the past has ruled it's legal to not report payments to sub vendors.
This was the second trial in this case. In October, a trial ended in a hung jury. This time, jurors reached a conclusion after about eight hours of deliberations.