Published: Feb 27, 2013 3:25 PM EST

MIAMI (AP) - A former South Florida congressional candidate linked to defeated U.S. Rep. David Rivera is planning to plead guilty to federal campaign finance violations.
    
Court documents show that 35-year-old Justin Lamar Sternad intends to enter the plea next Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale federal court. Sternad initially pleaded not guilty to three charges, but prosecutors indicated he was cooperating with investigators. Sternad's lawyer declined comment.
    
The case centers on whether Sternad, an unknown Democrat, received thousands of dollars from the campaign of Rivera, a Republican. Sternad was running in the Democratic primary last year against Joe Garcia, who eventually defeated Rivera for the 26th congressional district that runs from the Miami suburbs to Key West.
    
Rivera has repeatedly denied any connection but has also been the subject of a federal tax investigation.

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