MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Ana Alliegro, the friend and political confidante of former Republican Congressman David Rivera, pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday afternoon to multiple charges related to the campaign of Justin Sternad.
The 44-year-old Alliegro was shackled at the hands and feet when she entered her plea. Alliegro waived a bond hearing during Monday’s hearing.
She was arrested by Nicaraguan authorities at a hair salon last Tuesday and turned over to the FBI Friday.
“She’s not in good shape,” said Alliegro’s attorney Mauricio Padilla. “She was arrested in Nicaragua. She was held in Nicaragua for three days under pretty bad conditions.”
According to a copy of the indictment provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Alliegro faces federal charges of conspiracy, making false statements, and two counts of making illegal campaign contributions.
Garcia went on to beat Rivera anyway in the race to represent the 26th Congressional district. The indictment stated Alliegro made “a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement” and “aided and abetted the making of contributions in excess of the $2,500 limit of the Election Act”.
It went on to allege she “met with a graphic designer to develop flyers for the campaign of co-conspirator Justin Lamar Sternad and even “hand-delivered $10,000, in cash” to a printing company for the flyers.
Sternad has pleaded guilty to violating federal election law, and now admits to receiving more than $80,000 from Alliegro in illegal contributions. Sternad said he was told the person ultimately behind the scheme was Rivera – but Rivera has not been charged and he denies any wrong doing.
In an amended campaign finance report filed on January 30, Sternad wrote: “I later discovered that Ana Alliegro was working with David Rivera.”
The indictment against Alliegro – who once described herself on Twitter as a Republican “bad girl” — does not name Rivera.
Alliegro will spend her time in jail alone, unable to see anyone.
“She hasn’t been medically cleared, so she’s been in solitary confinement since Friday,” Padilla said. “She’s not in good shape. I feel for my client. My heart goes out to her.”
If convicted, Alliegro faces up to five years in prison for each county in addition to hefty fines.