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Bernie Sanders, wife hire lawyers after bank fraud accusation

By
Ed Adamczyk
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his wife, Jane Sanders, hired lawyers amid reports of an FBI investigation into a 2010 bank loan application made by Burlington College. Jane Sanders was president of the college at the time. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his wife, Jane Sanders, hired lawyers amid reports of an FBI investigation into a 2010 bank loan application made by Burlington College. Jane Sanders was president of the college at the time. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

June 28 (UPI) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders defended his wife Jane during a television interview amid reports the couple is under FBI investigation for bank fraud.

Sanders, I-Vt., did not confirm reports of an investigation in a CNN interview Tuesday, but CBS News confirmed that he and his wife have hired attorneys. The FBI field office in Albany, N.Y., and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Vermont offered no comment.

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Jeff Weaver, an adviser to Sanders, said the couple sought legal protection after federal agents' allegations from a January 2016 complaint. The complaint accused Jane Sanders, then-president of since-closed Burlington College, of distorting donor levels in the college's 2010 loan application. The school sought a $10 million loan to purchase 33 acres of land. The allegations include possible pressure Sen. Sanders may have applied on the bank to approve the loan, CBS News said.

Jane Sanders was president of the school from 2004 to 2011. It closed in 2016, citing debt it had undertaken from a real estate deal executed during her presidency.

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The allegations of bank fraud were initiated by Brady Toensing, a former Vermont GOP vice chair and former state campaign chair for President Donald Trump, CNN reported.

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During Tuesday's interview, Sen. Sanders said Toensing's accusations were politically motivated, noting it came five years after Jane Sanders left the school's presidency and during his presidential campaign.

"I think it's fairly pathetic that when people are involved in public life, it's not only that they get attacked, but it's their wives and their families that get attacked," Sanders said.

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Toensing told CNN on Sunday that he hopes for "a fair, full and impartial investigation."

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