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Rand Paul's Presidential Campaign Haunted By Dad's Staff Scandal

Rand Paul Ron Paul Campaign Scandal Warrants Ongoing Trial
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Dec. 24 2015, Published 10:09 a.m. ET

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Rand Paul's presidential campaign is suffering from the ongoing bribery trial of his close confidant who was indicted in July.

In his 2012 bid for the oval office, Ron Paul, Rand's 80-year-old dad, was under fire when his aides allegedly bribed a senator to endorse their campaign and then lied about it.

Jesse Benton, Dimitri Kesari and John Tate were charged by a federal grand jury in August after being accused of bribing influential Iowa senator Kent Sorenson with over $73,000.

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"The conspirators would and did cause payments to Senator Sorenson by Political Committee 2 totaling $73,000 for Senator Sorenson's political support of Candidate B, and concealed those payments from Candidate B, the FEC, the FBI and the public," according to the case's court documents obtained exclusively by


Benton, who served as Ron's presidential campaign chair in 2012 and married his granddaughter, Valori Pyeatt in 2008, was ultimately acquitted of lying to the FBI during a high-profile Oct. 22 trial.

Kesari, however, was convicted for lying to the feds. The former deputy campaign manager also had the jury considering a retrial on three counts: conspiracy, causing false campaign expenses and false statements scheme.

"He had a trial back in October where he was convicted on one count and acquitted on one count and the jury hung on three counts. It means they were unable to come to a unanimous verdict," said Jesse Binall, Kesari's Virginia-based defense lawyer.

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That means Benton and Tate aren't out of hot water just yet.

"When the other defendants got indicted, they moved that trial out from December to February. So it's a consolidated trial—everybody's going to trial together," Binall told Radar.

Binall explained that the three 'conspirators' are going to be back in court for their original charges.

"It was dismissed without prejudice and so the government re-indicted them. Basically what happened is there was prosecutorial misconduct," he said. "The prosecutors violated the defendants' constitutional rights by bringing stuff up in front of the grand jury that they were not supposed to bring up."

Still, the lawyer explained, the trial shouldn't take more than two weeks because the court has already set all its deadlines for any further motions.

With the trial looming over Paul's presidential campaign, it is unclear if his dad's ex-staffers are having any effect on the race. However, Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University seems not to think so.

"Up to now, Paul's difficulty in finding acceptance for his foreign-policy views in the Republican Party is a much greater problem for him than these trials," he told Radar.



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