Sen. Robert Torricelli, whose personal and campaign finances are under federal investigation, told supporters at a fund-raising dinner Thursday that he is innocent and will not be dissuaded from running for reelection in 2002.
The event raised more than $675,000, according to Torricelli press secretary Debra Deshong.
"I have nothing to fear from any investigation because I've never violated any law," Torricelli told the audience of about 500 people, including fellow New Jersey Democrat Sen. Jon Corzine.
"The truth of the matter is, I have been publicly raped," Torricelli said. "Maybe they think that by embarrassment, by leaking stories, you can be intimidated from public life."
The federal investigation into Torricelli's finances originally focused on his successful 1996 Senate campaign, in which he raised more than $9 million and was elevated to vice chairman of the Senate Democrats' fund-raising arm.
Torricelli has never been charged, but seven people have pleaded guilty to making illegal donations to the campaign. Prosecutors are now also looking at Torricelli's personal finances, including allegations that he may have accepted illegal gifts.
Torricelli has accused federal investigators of illegally leaking their suspicions and allegations to the news media. His lawyer on Wednesday asked Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft to appoint a special counsel to take over the investigation from U.S. attorney Mary Jo White.
Torricelli entered 2001 with $2.7 million in his campaign treasury.