Whittemore Seeks New Trial On Campaign Charges

LAS VEGAS -- Developer Harvey Whittemore is seeking a new trial, according to papers filed Wednesday in the United States District Court.

The once powerful lobbyist was convicted last month of using family and friends in 2007 to funnel illegal campaign contributions to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's campaign.

Lawyers for Whittemore are asking the court to overturn the conviction. They claim the judge failed to remove a biased witness, the jury was given incomplete instructions, and statements were made that weren't supported by evidence.

Criminal defense attorney Dominic Gentile also said in a formal motion for a new federal trial in Reno on Wednesday that Whittemore's First Amendment rights were violated and that Judge Larry Hicks misstated the law.

Whittemore faces up to 15 years in prison and $750,000 in fines on three felony counts tied to nearly $150,000 prosecutors say he funneled to Reid's 2007 campaign through third-party "straw donors."

Gentile says Whittemore had a free speech right to urge others to give to Reid but never demanded they do so after writing them personal checks.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 


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