RENO, Nev. (AP) - Lawyers defending Harvey Whittemore at his upcoming federal trial on charges he made illegal campaign contributions to Sen. Harry Reid say money Whittemore gave to employees were gifts of appreciation not reimbursement for their own donations to the Nevada Democrat.
Jury selection begins Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Reno for the former millionaire developer and high-powered lobbyist accused of funneling nearly $150,000 to Reid's campaign in 2007.
Prosecutors allege Whittemore promised Reid in February 2007 that he would raise $150,000 for his campaign and then used family members and employees as "straw" or "conduit" donors.
But his lawyers said in recent court filings he'd been politically active since he was a teenager and always encouraged his family and others to support candidates for office whether with money or otherwise.
Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.