News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. July 22, 2011, 2 p.m.: Karl B. Rodney, the Jamaican-born publisher of the New York-based Carib News paper, got a slap on the wrist for lying to Congress in a D.C. federal court today, walking away with probation, News Americas has learnt.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan sentenced Rodney this morning to twenty-four months probation, a special assessment of $100 and a fine of $2,500.
U.S. prosecutors had recommended zero to six months in jail for Rodney and called for a sentence within the guidelines that would reflect the serious “nature and circumstances of the offense” as well the need “to promote respect for the law” and “to afford adequate deterrence.” Now it’s up to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to determine Rodney’s immediate future.
On March 14, 2011, Rodney pleaded guilty to one count of lying to congress. Federal prosecutors say over the course of two years, Rodney, repeatedly deceived Members of Congress and the Ethics Committee about the source of funding for trips to his conferences in the Caribbean organized by his Carib News Foundation. Specifically, they say, he submitted forms certifying that his foundation was the sole sponsor of the Members’ trips to the conferences when, in fact, as the defendant well knew, the trips were paid for by foreign governments.
In addition, in 2007, he gave Members airline tickets that were provided by a prohibited corporate source. Further, the feds say when Rodney was confronted by the Ethics Committee about the funding for the trips; he continued to conceal the true source of funding.
The United States House of Representatives issued new funding and disclosure requirements in 2007.
On June 24, 2009, the Ethics Committee opened an investigation into the funding of Member travel to Rodney’s conferences in 2007 and 2008 and found that he “submitted false information to the [Ethics] Committee and to the Members invited to attend the 2007 and 2008 conferences on multiple occasions,” and that he “falsely testified before the Subcommittee, under oath, when he stated that he informed the Government of Antigua they would not be paying for the lodging used by the Members’ and that Carib News paid for the Members lodging.”
The Standards Committee referred the matter to the Department of Justice for further investigation and, on March 14, 2011, Rodney copped a plea deal that spared his wife, Faye Rodney, prosecution.