US: Prison for Whittemore Would Send Message

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - Lawyers for former Nevada lobbyist Harvey Whittemore are asking a federal judge for an evidentiary hearing before his sentencing next week to prove why he only deserves probation, not four years in prison for breaking campaign contribution laws.

Prosecutors say failure to put the wealthy developer behind bars would fuel the "growing public cynicism" that the political process is rigged in favor of the rich and powerful.

U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden says in documents filed in federal court in Reno on Monday that sending Whittemore to prison would help counter that cynicism and reaffirm the serious nature of campaign finance crimes like those Whittemore committed when he funneled more than $130,000 to Sen. Harry Reid's re-election campaign in 2007.

Whittemore's scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 30 on three felony convictions.