Published Monday, Oct. 25, 2010 | 7:08 p.m.
Updated Monday, Oct. 25, 2010 | 7:37 p.m.
A former spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lied to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to cover up a sham marriage she entered into with a college friend, according to Fox News.
Diana Tejada worked until recently as Reid's Hispanic press secretary but no longer works for the senator, a spokesman said. He would not say when she left the job.
Tejada faces no criminal charges but was accused of marrying Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini in 2003 so he could obtain permanent U.S. residency, Fox reported. Tejada reportedly received payment in exchange.
The two met in 2000 when Tarhini entered the U.S. on a student visa to attend Oklahoma City University, where Tejada was also a student.
"Our office was not previously aware of these allegations and, following an internal investigation, the staffer at issue is no longer with our office," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in a written statement provided to the Sun. "The conduct alleged, which took place several years before the staffer worked for Senator Reid, was clearly wrong. But the bottom line remains that this story was a desperation measure by partisan Republicans, who have stooped to slinging mud about junior staffers to score points in the waning days of her campaign."
Fox reported that Tarhini was interviewed in 2009 by FBI agents who sources say asked about his ties to extremists groups. Some sources said they determined he did not have ties to any terror group, but other sources close to the case said that could not be ruled out, according to Fox.