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Harry Reid Staffer Out After Fraudulent Marriage Revealed

An aide for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has left office following the revelation of her fraudulent past marriage. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

A staffer for Senator Harry Reid has left the Nevada Democrat's office amid reports that she accepted money to marry a Lebanese man who sought U.S. citizenship and lied to the FBI, CNN reports.

Fox News reported on Monday that Diana Tejada, the Senate majority leader's spokeswoman for Hispanic media, lied to federal immigration and FBI agents about her 2003 marriage with Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini, who gave her money in exchange for the benefits of U.S. citizenship.

According to the report, Tejada came clean about the nature of the union in 2008. In 2009, Tarhini pleaded guilty to felony charges for participating in the fraud, and he was deported earlier this year.

Tejada did not face charges, and her divorce to Tarhini - which was filed shortly after he was deported - was finalized in July 2010.

Tejada joined Reid's office in 2008.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley said the office had not been aware of these charges against Tejada prior to the Fox News report.

"Our office was not previously aware of these allegations and, following an internal investigation, the staffer at issue is no longer with our office," Manley said in a statement. "The conduct alleged, which took place several years before the staffer worked for Senator Reid, was clearly wrong."

Manley went on to infer that the story is "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."

Reid, the five-term senator, is currently locked in a bitter race to retain his seat against Tea Party-backed Republican candidate Sharron Angle. (CBS currently rates the race a toss up.) He and Angle have frequently sparred over the issue of immigration.


Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.