A Republican political strategist was convicted of illegally helping a Russian businessman contribute to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.
The donation got Vasilenko a picture with Trump and entrance to a “business roundtable” with the future president.
Vasilenko connected with Benton through Doug Wead, an evangelical ally of the Bush family who was also involved in multilevel marketing.
Vasilenko sent $100,000 to Benton, who was working for a pro-Trump super PAC at the time, supposedly for consulting services.
Witnesses from the RNC and the firm hired to organize the event said they weren’t told Vasilenko was a Russian citizen.
Benton argued that he followed the advice of his previous counsel, David A. Warrington, who has also represented Trump.
Prosecutors said Benton failed to tell Warrington that he was getting reimbursed by the Russian citizen for the donation. »