LOS ANGELES – A brother-in-law of Sen. Edward Kennedy testified in federal court Thursday against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (search) former national finance director, who is accused of lying to regulators about the cost of a lavish Hollywood fundraiser.
Raymond Reggie (search), a prominent political consultant whose sister is married to Kennedy, told jurors that David Rosen (search) said before the gala that event producers were charging $500,000 — $100,000 more than was reported as the overall cost.
Reggie helped solicit contributions for the glitzy August 2000 dinner and concert that attracted celebrities including Cher, Diana Ross and Muhammad Ali. He said Rosen told him afterward that "the last-minute costs crushed him."
Prosecutors say Rosen, panicked over mounting expenses, intentionally caused forms to be filed with the Federal Election Commission that underreported "in-kind" contributions used to pay for the event by about $800,000.
Rosen's attorney Paul Sandler has said the costs were hidden from Rosen by event organizers, and emphasized Thursday that the Clinton campaign didn't benefit from the underreporting.
Sandler attacked Reggie's credibility, noting that he has pleaded guilty to unrelated bank fraud charges in Louisiana and had been charged in 2002 with impersonating a police officer. The latter charges were dismissed.
Rosen has pleaded not guilty to three charges of filing false statements with the government. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, plus fines.
Clinton, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, has not been charged or linked in court to any wrongdoing. Neither Clinton nor former President Clinton are expected to be called to testify.
Prosecutors were expected to rest Friday.