Ron Paul Staffers Want Separate Trials

Feb 4, 2016

A former staffer from Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign is asking he be tried separately from his codefendant on charges related to concealing information from the Federal Election Commission. Paul's campaign manager John Tate says testimony proving his innocence will not be heard if he’s tried with deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari.

Tate and Kesari, along with campaign chairman Jesse Benton, are accused of orchestrating under-the-table payments to then-Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson in exchange for his endorsement of Paul. This is the second set of indictments the trio faces. An October trial ended with a hung jury.

Kesari wants to testify on behalf Tate, to say his old boss had no knowledge of the Sorenson payments; but he won't testify if the trials aren't severed. If Kesari takes the witness stand in his own trial, he forfeits his Fifth Amendment right to not answer incriminating questions. 

Prior to the first trial, Tate's charges were dismissed after a judge ruled his indictment violated an immunity agreement by federal investigators in exchange for information. This second trial has amended indictments. 

Prosecutors say Tate's request is a strategic plan to obtain a severance. The government alleges a complex chronology of events, and Tate’s absence in the first trial may have hindered the prosecution's case.

The sole guilty verdict in October was against Kesari for one count of causing false FEC reports. He faces up to 20 years in prison, though has yet to be sentenced.    

The new trial is currently scheduled for April.