A longtime benefactor of Vice President Al Gore was cleared of all charges Thursday in a political money case involving about $100,000 in contributions to Gore, President Clinton and other politicians.
Franklin L. Haney was accused of using straw donors to mask his own political donations and lying about it in filings to federal regulators.
Lawyers for the Tennessee developer admitted he gave the money, but they argued that Haney misinterpreted a confusing set of rules on how to raise and record political donations.
“I am deeply gratified with today’s verdict,” Haney said in a statement. “We had faith that this day would come.”
Haney dabbed his eyes as the jury foreman read the verdict: not guilty on 42 counts.
Prosecutors from the Justice Department’s campaign finance task force did not comment after the trial. During six days of testimony, prosecutors argued Haney tried to dodge campaign rules by reimbursing friends, employees and even strangers who made political donations at his behest.