Whittemore lawyers seek to suppress evidence
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Lawyers for Harvey Whittemore are seeking to suppress evidence in a federal case charging the one-time power broker unlawfully funneled $138,000 in campaign contributions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The lawyers, in court papers filed Friday, argue a note from the Nevada Democrat thanking Whittemore and other evidence were unlawfully obtained without a warrant.
The papers include motions to dismiss the case against the Nevada legislative lobbyist because of a lack of evidence, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Whittemore was indicted in June on two counts of making illegal campaign contributions, one count of lying to the FBI and one count of causing a false report to be sent to the Federal Election Commission, all felonies.
The indictment alleges he unlawfully used family members and associates as conduits for contributions to the senator’s campaign and then reimbursed them.
He’s also accused of duping Reid’s campaign committee into believing the contributions were legally obtained from family members and associates.
Reid has distanced himself from Whittemore since the lobbyist became the subject of a federal investigation early this year. Reid also has donated the money to charity.
In a motion to suppress, Whittemore attorney Dominic Gentile seeks to toss out all evidence found without a court-approved warrant in 81 boxes taken from Whittemore’s offices after his business partners cut ties with him.
The boxes contained documents identifying the surrogate contributors Whittemore is alleged to have used in the scheme and his reimbursements to the contributors, a book about campaign finance law and note from Reid.
In that note, Reid wrote, “Harvey, you’re a man of your word” and “You are a true friend now and for all days.”
The indictment alleges Whittemore met with Reid in February 2007 in Las Vegas and agreed to raise $150,000 by the March 31, 2007, campaign finance deadline.
In one defense motion seeking to dismiss the case, Gentile argued the government cannot prove Whittemore knowingly violated the campaign laws.
“The indictment is devoid of any factual allegations that Mr. Whittemore knew the specific laws with which he is charged of violating,” Gentile wrote. “Thus, the court should dismiss the indictment in full because the government has failed to allege the essential facts constituting the element of willfulness.”