In a blow to federal prosecutors, a judge Monday tossed out the most serious charges in an illegal campaign finance case against prominent Los Angeles attorney Pierce O'Donnell.
U.S. District Judge S. James Otero ruled that prosecutors had improperly charged O'Donnell with two violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.
The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles alleged that O'Donnell violated the act by soliciting employees to make contributions to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Edwards and then reimbursing them for the donations.
But Otero found that the law prosecutors cited does not prohibit such activity.
"The charges were dismissed because the U.S. attorney overreached in an attempt to use the law far more broadly than its terms allow," O'Donnell's Washington, D.C.-based attorney, George Terwilliger, said in a prepared statement.