Rep. Sessions to Accused Swindler: “I Love You and Believe in You”

Dallas congressman responds to newspaper report about email to embattled financier

Rep. Pete Sessions wrote an email to Texas financier Allen Stanford hours after the billionaire was accused of swindling investors: "I love you and believe in you," the Miami Herald reported Sunday.

The newspaper said the longtime Republican congressman from Dallas sent the email on Feb. 17, the same day the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Stanford of cheating investors out of $7 billion.

"If you want my ear/voice -- email," it said, according to the Herald. It was signed "Pete."

Stanford's financial empire, based in Antigua with offices in Houston, was nothing more than a massive Ponzi scheme, federal prosecutors said.

Stanford, who grew up in Mexia, Texas, was arrested by the FBI on June 18 and is awaiting trial on fraud charges.

The Herald did not report how it obtained the e-mail or how it verified its authenticity.

In a statement released late Monday, Sessions' press secretary, Emily Davis, stopped short of confirming that the congressman wrote the email but said, "Sessions believes that its contents resemble language he would use to communicate with a person in crisis to encourage right decisions and prevent further tragedy."

Davis said Stanford "had everyone fooled" and that Sessions has worked to recover investors' money.

"The congressman maintains the position that Mr. Stanford should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the statement said.

After reports in February that Sessions had accepted $41,375 from Stanford since 2000, Davis denied the congressman knew the banker personally.

But a photo then surfaced of the two during a 2005 trip Sessions and several other lawmakers took to Antigua. The picture was originally published by the Antiguan government.

Sessions, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, wasn't the only politician who accepted campaign donations from Stanford.

Campaign finance records show Stanford contributed heavily to both Democrats and Republicans.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, took $19,700, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison accepted $7,300, and Rep, Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas, took $15,500, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog group.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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