Third Ron Paul aide gets prison time for campaign violations
Posted 12:50 p.m. Wednesday
Updated 12:52 p.m. Wednesday
DES MOINES, Iowa — The deputy manager of Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign was sentenced Wednesday to three months in prison for conspiring to cover up campaign payments to a former Iowa state senator, after a judge determined he played a larger role than two other aides who were spared prison time.
Like his two colleagues, Dimitri Kesari was accused as part of a scheme to file false contribution reports with the Federal Election Commission. He also received six months of home confinement, two years' probation and a $10,000 fine.
Judge John Jarvey found Kesari had played more of an active role in arranging and concealing $73,000 in payments to a video production company that were passed on to former state Sen. Kent Sorenson. He dropped support for Michele Bachmann and endorsed Paul six days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses.
On Tuesday, campaign chairman Jesse Benton and manager John Tate were sentenced to probation, home confinement and a fine — but no prison time — for the same crimes.
All three have said they broke no laws.
"Dimitri actually read a letter to the judge asking the judge to make more mercy on Mr. Tate and Mr. Benton than on himself because they didn't know about this he did," said Kesari's attorney Jesse Binnall. "We can disagree whether or not it was illegal all day long but he admitted to the court today that he made a serious mistake and judge Jarvey appropriately tempered the need for some justice here based on what he felt with an appropriate level of mercy."
Binnall said Kesari, who lives in Hamilton, Virginia, is allowed to report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at a time to be arranged to begin serving the sentence.
The men plan to appeal their convictions to the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice said prosecutors would have no further comment.