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July 27, 2015

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Reid says he’s ‘sorry’ Whittemore is facing trial on campaign finance violations

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid said Tuesday he was surprised he wasn’t called to testify in the trial of former lobbyist and real estate mogul Harvey Whittemore, who is accused of illegally funneling $133,000 in contributions to Reid’s 2010 campaign.

“If I’d been asked I would’ve been happy to come,” Reid said in an interview taped for the television program, "To the Point." “Do you think I should’ve volunteered?”

Whittemore is accused of reimbursing his employees for campaign contributions they made to Reid’s campaign in 2007, a violation of federal campaign finance law.

The jury began deliberating a verdict this afternoon.

Reid said he and his staff were interviewed about the case, but he personally was not asked to testify.

“I appreciate the Whittemore family,” Reid said. “Over the years, they have helped me and I appreciate it very, very much. I’m sorry this problem has arisen.

“But when people give me money, they follow the law. This trial will determine whether or not he followed the law. It won’t change my impression of Harvey Whittemore, or (his wife) Annette. I think they are wonderful people.”

Asked if the contributions from Whittemore’s employees raised any red flags for him, Reid implied those contributions were small potatoes relative to the amount of money he brought in.

“I received $25 million. He raised $150,000,” Reid said. “I had money coming in from other places.”

The full interview with Reid will air at 9:30 p.m. Saturday on Channel 3.

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