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Rep. David Rivera defends himself over federal investigation, plays tape recording of FBI witness

In his first sit down English-language television interview in weeks, U.S. Rep. David Rivera defended himself Sunday against a federal grand-jury investigation into his alleged involvement in a primary campaign against his Democratic opponent.

At one point, Rivera pulled out a black Sony tape recorder and held it up against his lapel microphone to play a recording of what he said was a telephone message from an FBI witness in the case.

The FBI is investigating whether Rivera illegally funneled secret money to Justin Lamar Sternad, who lost in the Aug. 14 primary to Joe Garcia. Garcia now faces Rivera.

“No federal agency has ever stated or confirmed that I am under investigation for anything,” Rivera told WPLG-ABC 10’s Michael Putney on This Week in South Florida.

What Rivera didn’t say: State records show that federal authorities as late as last year were investigating him in a separate matter stemming from a secret $500,000 dog track payment the congressman had arranged.

Rivera had denied at the time that he was even under state investigation or that he had a lawyer. Records showed otherwise.

In the latest investigation, at least two campaign vendors have told The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald that they had been interviewed by federal authorities concerning Sternad’s campaign, which was fueled by tens of thousands of unreported money — much of it cash.

The FBI was scheduled to speak to Ana Sol Alliegro, Sternad’s campaign manager who apparently acted as Sternad’s conduit to Rivera. She disappeared from public view several weeks ago.

A target of a federal investigation is typically not informed of the probe until it is wrapping up or investigators have compiled enough evidence to confront their subject.

When Putney pressed Rivera about his involvement in Sternad’s campaign leading up to the August primary, Rivera tried to discredit vendor Hugh Cochran, who has said Rivera hired his company, Campaign Data, to target voters to receive Sternad fliers.

“Let me play you a little tape from Mr. Cochran, a voice mail that he left with the Miami Herald reporter that is involved in running this story,” Rivera said. “Just so you know Mr. Cochran’s agenda.”

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Vox Veritas

So why did Joe Garcia back out of the debate? What does he have to hide?

Vox Veritas

Other than having to explain John Cabanas & Francisco Aruca who gave his campaign thousands of dollars and are long time supporters of Fidel Castro and his dictatorship? http://t.co/3qCNLJoP

Vox Veritas

Or perhaps its Joe Garcia's tight friendship with disgraced Enron CEO Ken Lay or his Anti-Latino racist comments on video. There is more at http://www.joegarcia.net

whasup

The Nosferatu of Miami politics is fighting hard for his survival.

Why does he have to struggle so hard? Is it because of "political silly season" as he says?

Or is it because, this time, the allegations and rumors actually have the bite of some substance?

Notice how the Nosferatu said, in commanding voice, at least twice in the video "Look at me" (@ 2:31) and "Look at me again, Michael" (@ 5:35).

Isn't that the Nosferatu trying to mesmerize or glamour the news bobblehead (as in "look into my eyes and believe what I tell you).

Of course, since the Democrats keep running zombie candidates against the Nosferatu, they keep losing … so far.

This election will be determined by whether the Democrats can turn out more zombie voters than the absentee ballots the Republicans can commandeer for the Nosferatu.

Fernando

Joe Garcia is a coward. As usual.

Pedro

It looks like Javi and Alina had a fun day posting yesterday.

TruthbTold

Wow, I cannot believe the spin on this story. I saw the interview and Mr. Rivera addressed and answered all of the questions. This seems like a witch hunt to me. What happened to Innocent until proven guilty? What a disjustice to the community. I wished the time would have been spent on the issues. On healthcare, on job creation. Miami is hurting badly. There are so many people out of work. Small businesses will be shut down when Obamacare plows through and the tax credits expire. And, your newspaper is spinning? Really?

Joe Garcia should have gone on and faced Mr. Rivera, he choose not to for whatever the reasons that doesn't look good to this average citizen. And, this newspaper has become just trash tabloid. It is evident by this story from Ms.Mazzei that you have no interest in justice or in truth or in reporting to the community that you serve.

It is a sad day, indeed for all Americans with the press can try, judge, and convict anyone in the court of public opinion.

Mr. Rivera just earned my vote, I was undecided.

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