Two former top aides to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign are pleading not guilty to charges that they conspired to buy support of an Iowa lawmaker before that year’s caucuses.
Jesse Benton and John Tate appeared in federal court in Des Moines Thursday. Along with a third former Ron Paul staffer, they are charged with conspiracy, falsifying documents and several other related crimes. Both were released and a trial date of Oct. 5 has been set.
Benton and Tate are on leave from their roles leading America’s Liberty, a super PAC supporting Rand Paul’s presidential run. Benton is married to Rand Paul’s niece.
The indictment alleges Benton negotiated a $73,000 payment to state Sen. Kent Sorenson in exchange for his leaving the Michele Bachmann campaign to support Paul.