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July 23, 2014

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Courts:

Harvey Whittemore’s law license suspended; case going to disciplinary board

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Tim Dunn/Reno Gazette-Journal

Defense attorney John Arrascada, left, with Harvey Whittemore at his side talks to the media after Whittemore’s arraignment Thursday, June 7, 2012, in Reno.

The Nevada Supreme Court has temporally suspended the law license of Reno attorney Harvey Whittemore, convicted of making an estimated $150,000 in illegal political campaign contributions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Earlier this year, Whittemore was convicted by a federal court jury of felony crimes of making excessive political contributions, making contributions in the name of another and filing a false statement with the Federal Election Commission. He was sentenced to two years in prison starting Jan. 31, 2014 — giving him time to close his law practice — and fined $100,000.

Whittemore's attorneys have launched an appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Reid, D-Nev., has returned the money.

The court Tuesday referred the case to the Northern Nevada Disciplinary Board of the State Bar to determine the punishment for Whittemore, a one-time influential lobbyist and land developer. He has been a licensed attorney since 1977.

The court said Whittemore was convicted of three counts of serious crimes and it had the obligation to send the case to the disciplinary board to determine the extent of the punishment to be imposed, which must then be approved by the Nevada Supreme Court.

If and when he is freed from prison, Whittemore will be on two years of supervised release, requiring reporting to a probation officer, submitting to a DNA test, working regularly “at lawful occupation” and performing 100 hours of community service.

If his license is revoked, Whittemore won’t be able to practice law unless the board reverses its decision.

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