Ana Alliegro, busted in Nicaragua after twice leaving U.S. authorities behind, appeared for the first time Monday in U.S. federal court, where prosecutors made sure she remained incarcerated amid an ongoing campaign-finance scandal tied to a former congressman.
Alliegro pleaded not guilty to four counts of making a false statement, conspiring and making illegal campaign contributions. She faces a maximum five years in prison for each charge.
According to an indictment, Alliegro and her “co-conspirators” helped steer almost $82,000 in unreported contributions to the campaign of another co-conspirator, Justin Lamar Sternad, in a 2012 Democratic congressional primary.
At times, Sternad’s campaign resembled a proxy for then-U.S. Rep. David Rivera in the way it attacked the Republican’s Democratic rival.
Outspoken and aggressive, the self-described Republican “bad girl” said nothing Monday in federal court, where Alliegro appeared worn and sad.
Days before her arrest, Alliegro said in an interview with Diario Las Américas, a Spanish-language newspaper, that she was innocent. She pointed out the FBI had interviewed her a couple of times late last year.
“If they had had charges against me, they would have arrested me,” she said.
Last Tuesday, authorities did just that. And she paid a price for twice fleeing to Nicaragua.