Former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty to instigating and then obstructing an FBI investigation into Republican Carl DeMaio during the 2014 election based on false accusations.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns sentenced Bosnich to psychiatric counseling, 240 hours of community service and a $2,500 fine for his offense, noting specifically that DeMaio lost the election, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), Southern District of California.
During the course of the campaign, Bosnich claimed that DeMaio sexually harassed him and then offered $50,000 in hush money to leave the campaign and stay quiet.
In a June plea agreement Bosnich admitted making the false accusations following his May 2014 termination from the campaign.
Details of the plea agreement included a “particularly ugly and threatening message” from an “anonymous” source sent to Bosnich’s email account. Bosnich later admitted that he set up the dummy account himself.
The former DeMaio staffer brought his fraudulently orchestrated allegations to the FBI and repeatedly claimed that he did not know the source of the email, but suspected that it was DeMaio. Investigation into the allegations made national headlines during the campaign, including a report from CNN.
The false claims led a grand jury to issue subpoenas in an attempt to discover the author of the mysterious emails according to the USAO.
There is no way of knowing how much [Bosnich’s conduct] effected voters’ minds,” Judge Burns said. “The victim is Mr. DeMaio, DeMaio’s campaign, or the democratic process.” Demo went on to lose to incumbent Democrat Scott Peters in a race Republicans had targeted for pickup.
U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy weighed in, “Bosnich’s criminal act had the very real possibility of improperly tipping the scale towards a particular candidate. This was far from a harmless prank.”
“Mr. Bosnich engaged in a pattern of lies and deceitful acts in an effort to obstruct FBI Agents from getting to the truth in this case,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that the FBI will aggressively investigate and seek prosecution of those who attempt to obstruct justice by lying to the FBI.”
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