March 17, 1998 in Nation/World

Chung Pleads Guilty To Campaign Abuses Democratic Fund-Raiser Also Admits Tax Evasion, Loan Fraud

Linda Deutsch Associated Press
 
Tags:ethics

Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung, who has agreed to help prosecutors probing campaign finance abuses, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of funneling $20,000 in illegal contributions to the Clinton-Gore re-election bid.

Chung also pleaded guilty to charges involving an $8,000 donation to the campaign of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., tax evasion and fraudulently obtaining a $157,500 loan on his home.

Chung, 43, stood before U.S. District Judge Manuel Real and answered “Yes” repeatedly when asked if he was pleading guilty because he was indeed guilty.

The judge scheduled sentencing for July 20 at the request of defense attorney Brian Sun, who cited sections of the plea agreement which remained sealed.

The delay in sentencing was designed to allow prosecutors to continue questioning Chung and to perhaps to call him before a grand jury or other investigative body in connection with the campaign finance scandal.

The judge stressed that he was not promising Chung any specific sentence and that the plea agreement did not require him to grant leniency. Chung said he understood.

Chung could face 37 years in prison and $1.45 million in fines, but plea bargains usually involve a request for substantially reduced penalties. The sentence usually is determined by how much useful information the defendant provides.

The charges against Chung were substantially lower than those he could have faced given the extent of his contributions to Democratic causes. He actually donated some $400,000 to Democratic causes and candidates between 1994 and 1996.


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