LOS ANGELES — A federal judge voiced suspicions Monday that major Democratic donor Johnny Chung might be taking a fall in the national campaign funding scandal.
For the second time in as many weeks, U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real postponed Chung's sentencing for making illegal campaign contributions.
He asked to see transcripts of Chung's secret testimony before a federal grand jury in Washington.
"What I think is that Mr. Chung is going into the tank for someone else, but I don't know who that someone is," Real said.
He also cast doubt on the sincerity of an unsolicited letter to the court from the Democratic National Committee, portraying itself as a victim of Chung's machinations.
The letter accused Chung of victimizing the party by donating nearly $400,000 in illegal contributions from China.
Chung, 43, was a relative nobody until he started contributing to the party. He wound up visiting the White House about 50 times, often in the company of foreign businesspeople he was trying to impress.
In a deal for leniency, Chung pleaded guilty last March to making $28,000 in illegal contributions to the Clinton-Gore campaign and to U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). He also admitted lying about his taxable income and falsifying a bank loan application.
Real set Dec. 14 as the new date for sentencing. Chung, who has no prior criminal record, could face a maximum of one to two years in prison.