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Former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mark Lakers pleaded guilty Friday to misrepresenting financial pledges in his campaign reports and was fined $500.

Lakers was arraigned in Lancaster County Court on a misdemeanor charge of abuse of public records brought by Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning.

Bruning said his investigation discovered 51 of 80 pledges from individuals or corporations who responded to an inquiry from his office and the Accountability and Disclosure Commission were false.

If Lakers had not agreed to plead guilty and thereby admit the pledges were false, Bruning said, he would have pursued felony charges against the former gubernatorial nominee.

"Part of today's plea (agreement) was a public admission of wrongdoing," the attorney general said. "This is a reasonable resolution.

"The truth is on the table for the public to see. And candidates know you have to tell the truth."

Lakers, an Omaha investment banker, was nominated by Democratic voters at the May primary election.

He withdrew from the race in July in the wake of a flurry of objections from individuals and corporations who said they had not made campaign pledges listed on his finance reports.

He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Scottsbluff attorney Mike Meister subsequently was chosen by the Democratic state convention as the party's gubernatorial nominee.

"Mr. Lakers knowingly misrepresented pledges on the reports designed to bring transparency to government," Bruning said at a Capitol news conference.

"Nebraskans expect and deserve more from those wishing to represent them."

Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

Video: Lakers pleads guilty to falsifying records

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