Los Angeles The former national finance director for Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign was acquitted Friday of lying to the government about a lavish 2000 Hollywood fund-raising gala.
David Rosen was charged with two counts of making false statements to the Federal Election Commission about the cost of the star-studded gala, which attracted such celebrities as Cher, Melissa Etheridge, Toni Braxton, Diana Ross, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.
The jury deliberated about six hours before reaching its verdict.
"It was hard for me to hold back tears. My whole family is crying, and my attorney is crying. It was the happiest moment, next to my marriage, in my life," Rosen said.
Clinton was not charged, but Republicans closely monitored the trial, hoping fallout from it might damage the New York Democrat's 2006 re-election bid and scuttle any hopes for a possible presidential campaign in 2008.
Prosecutors said Rosen, 38, panicked over the mounting costs for the fund-raiser and lied to conceal its true cost from both the Clinton campaign and the government. They said Clinton was unaware of any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors said he filed a federal campaign finance report to claim "in-kind" contributions of about $400,000, when he knew that actual contributions for the event exceeded $1.1 million.
It is not illegal for campaigns to accept in-kind contributions, such as the use of cars, hotel rooms and sound systems, but election law requires such items be reported so the public knows who is helping a candidate.