David Rivera investigation remains stalled
By Patricia Mazzei and Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald
Federal prosecutors have circled David Rivera for three years, trying to build a strong enough criminal case to prove the former Miami Republican congressman propped up a ringer candidate in the 2012 election.
They got the ringer, Justin Lamar Sternad, to confess, and sent him to prison. They chased the woman who secretly funneled more than $81,000 to Sternad — Ana Alliegro, Rivera’s ex-girlfriend — to her Nicaragua hideout, and sent her to prison, too. They even got Alliegro, once out of prison, to testify to a grand jury that it was Rivera who had plotted the illegal campaign-finance scheme.
That was almost a year ago. To date, the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami has filed no charges against Rivera — or closed the investigation against him.
“The judge had them name David Rivera as ‘Co-Conspirator A,’ and David Rivera has not been charged,” lamented Alliegro’s father, Anselmo Alliegro. “Nothing seems to be moving in that direction.”
As 2015 draws to a close, prosecutors might choose to wait even longer to resolve the case.
They have until 2017 to file charges, under the federal statute of limitations. And if Rivera’s friend and former housemate Marco Rubio continues to rise in the 2016 Republican presidential race, prosecutors might want to steer clear of the politically charged case, to avoid the appearance of meddling with an election.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, a Democrat, declined to comment for this story. Rivera, whose cellphone voice mail said he is out of the country, did not respond to emailed questions. A Miami Herald reporter asked him at a Republican Party of Florida fundraiser in Orlando last week if he had heard anything from prosecutors. Rivera, who has disputed he’s the target of the investigation, laughed off the question and said no.