- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former national finance director for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton testified yesterday that he may have used bad judgment when he failed to report that a campaign donor paid his $10,000 Beverly Hills hotel bill and let him use a Porsche.

But David Rosen said he never tried to hide anything.

Mr. Rosen is charged with making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, which oversees campaign contributions. The defense rested after he testified, and closing statements were expected to conclude yesterday.

Federal prosecutors say Mr. Rosen deliberately lied to regulators by claiming that ?in-kind? contributions for a lavish Hollywood fundraiser that he helped organize totaled $401,000. They say Mr. Rosen knew that the contributions were worth more than $1.1 million, but he says he relied on other people to document the costs.

Prosecutors say Mr. Rosen was trying to duck federal financing rules so Mrs. Clinton’s campaign would have more money to spend on her 2000 U.S. Senate race, but they have said the New York Democrat was unaware of any wrongdoing.

The hotel cost and use of the Porsche were provided by Aaron Tonken, another organizer of the fundraiser who is serving a 63-month prison sentence on separate charges of defrauding charities of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mr. Rosen, 38, testified that he thought the use of the Porsche was a personal gift.

?I didn’t think there was any campaign expense,? he said. ?If I executed poor judgment in that decision, I made a mistake, but I certainly didn’t intend to hide anything.?

The August 2000 dinner and concert, held at a 112-acre Brentwood estate, attracted celebrities including Cher, Diana Ross and Muhammad Ali.

Mr. Rosen said he relied on an outside group run by Tonken and businessman Peter Paul that was organizing the event to calculate and document the costs. The figures then were reported to the federal government, he said.

Paul, a three-time convicted felon, pleaded guilty in March to securities fraud in a separate case.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg, Mr. Rosen was asked repeatedly whether he had known or looked into details of the gala’s expenses. Mr. Rosen said that he had not and that he thought many items simply were included in larger categories.

Each of the two counts against Mr. Rosen carries a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

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