Nearly three years after allegations of campaign finance irregularities convulsed the closing days of Minnesota's epic 2008 Senate campaign, the U.S. Justice department has decided not to file charges against then-Sen. Norm Coleman or a benefactor, Minnesota businessman Nasser Kazeminy, according to attorneys.
Attorneys for Kazeminy announced the department's decision Tuesday, saying their client and the former senator were "vindicated" by it.
Late in the campaign, reports surfaced that Kazeminy tried to improperly funnel $75,000 to the family of former Sen. Norm Coleman through a Minneapolis insurance company that employed Coleman's wife, Laurie.
Those allegations had "absolute no credibility," said Robert Weinstine, one of Kazeminy's attorney.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, another of his attorneys, said that although "these allegations were entirely false, they were repeated in hundreds of local and national media reports" that left the reputations of the two men "injured and tarnished."
The allegation, which may have contributed to Coleman's loss to Sen. Al Franken, sparked a blizzard of investigations and lawsuits. Both Coleman and Kazeminy vehemently and consistently denied the accusations.
In a prepared statement, Coleman said the department's decision "is welcomed but not a surprise" and that his "political opponents turned those lies into multi-million-dollar attacks against my family and Nasser Kazeminy."
In a separate statement Kazeminy complained of "lies repeated over and over about you and the people you love." The Justice Department's decision proves "the facts were on our side," he added.