RENO, Nev. (AP) - Lawyers for Harvey Whittemore say the former Nevada developer and high-powered lobbyist convicted last month of making illegal campaign contributions to Sen. Harry Reid deserves a new trial partly because the jury foreman slept through some testimony.
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.
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