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Dem Fundraiser Hsu Convicted Of Corruption

Longtime fundraiser Norman Hsu was convicted Tuesday of violating campaign finance laws in a case that became an embarrassment to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other prominent Democrats.

Prosecutors had argued that Hsu, 58, used straw donors to make thousands of dollars in campaign donations to bypass rules limiting the amount any single individual or group can donate.

Hsu's defense argued he was framed by investors who cut deals with the government to avoid prosecution.

A federal jury in Manhattan convicted Hsu after deliberating for over two days.

A prosecutor said during closing arguments Monday that Hsu thought he could get away with breaking campaign contribution laws by using actresses and other political neophytes as straw donors.

During the trial that began May 12, prosecutors played a voicemail recording of Clinton, then a senator, effusively praising Hsu for his loyal support. After his 2007 arrest, the senator returned more than $800,000 to donors whose contributions were linked to him.

Jurors also heard testimony from several investors who recounted how Hsu wowed them by showing off his political connections. Another witness has testified she met President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island at fundraisers she attended with him.

Television actress Susan Chilman testified that she had given nearly $42,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democratic candidates. Once Chilman took out her checkbook, Hsu would simply give her a name and an amount, she said.

Hsu's trial came just days after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of wire and mail fraud, admitting that he cheated investors of at least $20 million in a Ponzi scheme.