A former top lobbyist was convicted on Wednesday in federal court in Nevada for making illegal campaign contributions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
A federal jury in Reno convicted developer Harvey Whittemore on charges of making excessive campaign contributions, making contributions in the name of another, and causing a false statement to be made to the Federal Election Commission.
The verdicts were unanimous on those counts, The Huffington Post reports
Whittemore faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
But the jury deadlocked on a fourth charge of making a false statement to the FBI. It deliberated for more than four hours on Tuesday and for most of the morning on Wednesday before returning its verdicts.
As the verdicts were read, Whittemore stood with arms behind his back and shook his head slightly, the Post reports.
Whittemore was accused of giving nearly $150,000 to family members and employees in 2007 to make contributions he had promised to Reid, though he concealed himself as the true source to bypass campaign finance laws.
Defense attorneys argued, however, that Whittemore broke no laws in giving $5,000 checks as gifts to family members and as gifts or bonuses to 29 employees and their spouses.
They then each wrote checks for the maximum $4,600 allowed to the Friends of Harry Reid campaign fund, the Post reports.
Reid, a Nevada Democrat, was not accused of wrongdoing — contending that he was unaware of any potential problems with the funds he received, the Post reports.
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