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Ted Stevens, Back On the Scene


From left to right: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, author Michael Smerconish and former Sen. Ted Stevens

Oh how the world turns. While his prosecutors are now under investigation for misconduct, the curmudgeonly ex-senator Ted Stevens is back on the Washington party circuit - vindicated, shrimp cocktail style.

The famed former senator from Alaska, who narrowly lost reelection in November after he was convicted on corruption charges, showed up at a fancy book party Thursday night for Philadelphia radio talk show host Michael Smerconish.

Stevens, 85, hinted to us that he's beginning work on his memoirs, sifting through mounds of archives of documents and mementos from his 39 years in the Senate, all of which are now housed at the University of Alaska.

"It's a hell of task," the famously gruff Alaskan groused. Though underneath his quintessential grumpy veneer, Stevens seemed more relaxed and at peace than he has in years, standing poolside at the home of Marina Ein, the publicist for Smerconish's book, "Morning Drive."

Could have a lot to do with that federal judge having dismissed Stevens' corruption conviction and appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the six Justice Department prosecutors who brought corruption charges against the senator.

In a classic Washington moment, also mingling at the party last night, grazing off the same buffet table as Stevens, was hotshot defense attorney Bill Taylor, a partner with Zuckerman Spaeder, who is defending the head of the Justice Department's Public Integrity section against potential criminal wrongdoing in the Stevens case.

We don't believe Stevens and Taylor had a chance to chat.

Sounds to us like Stevens may be looking for a ghostwriter to write his story. He told the Sleuth, "Well, I don't know that I'm writing it," suggesting that maybe he'll get a collaborator.

As Pennsylvania politics was the theme of last night's book party for Smerconish, Stevens counseled a concerned fan of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) not to worry about his pal and old colleague being stripped of his seniority after switching parties.

"Arlen Specter is Arlen Specter. He'll maneuver just fine on the Senate floor," Stevens huffed. He said he sent Specter a letter of support after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's surprise move to deny Specter any committee chairmanships even after he had switched to the Democratic Party.

He also predicted Specter would win the general election in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

Speaking of which, both Smerconish and MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who had contemplated running for the Senate seat that Specter holds, told us that Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) has definitely decided not to run against Specter in the Democratic primary.

Matthews, who was getting in his car to leave the party as we were arriving, also pointed out (unprompted) that in one recent poll, "I beat Specter by 28 points." (He's just sayin', Arlen.)

Later, as Stevens was leaving the party, we asked him if he felt vindicated with the tables having turned on his prosecutors, or persecutors as he might call them. "As I said on the floor of the Senate, I don't have rear view mirrors. I only look forward."

With that, the octogenarian sauntered down the steps of Ein's Georgetown home and out into the free world.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  May 15, 2009; 9:09 AM ET
 
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Comments

Ted Stevens = yet another Washington thug.

Posted by: jchar70 | May 15, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for Mr. Stevens in that he did serve the U.S. for a long time, and I'm sure did a lot of good. But over time it appears it went to his head, and his personality makes it easy to not like him, and I don't.

He made mistakes, we all do, and it's pretty rotten that the prosecutors messed up the chance to make him pay.

Posted by: tojo45 | May 15, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey. Give 'Uncle Ted," a break. He pulled off one of the greatest pork-barrel scams of all time: The "Bridge to Nowhere." For that reason alone he deserves a little respect, not to mention getting off scot-free when the prosecution should have nailed him. Hell, he'll probably get his Senate seat back. The fact of the matter is, Ted Stevens' name will go down in the annals of great Alaskans right along with the notorious 'Soapy' Smith. That's no small accomplishment.

Posted by: tobeimeanpeter | May 15, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

He wasn't found not guilty,there was impropriety on the Prosecutions side, big difference. He is still a pinhead and a thug!

Posted by: woodard3 | May 15, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

It appears only ordinary people convicted of crimes end up in prison. The fix is always in for these political hacks.

Posted by: Diogenes | May 15, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Is this the Specter of Stevens or the Snarlin Alliance? Gee is in not Stevens an erstwhile defender of Richard Nixon and diehard Republican? And he seems to say that switching to the Democrats O.K.
Take that W!

Posted by: peterroach | May 15, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I think if you do something wrong no matter who you are you should go to jailWatch Funny Videos

Posted by: roverfind | May 15, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Stevens made the drilling of a wildlife refuge the issue of his career. Anyone with so little regard for nature deserves all the scorn we can heap on him. I'm glad he's out. Good riddance.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 16, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

I see that Ted Stevens is still a wily jerk. Thank goodness he's out of office and an OLD jerk.

Posted by: ilovebulldogs | May 18, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't Ted Stevens be in a nursing home?

Posted by: GuinnessJ51 | May 18, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

What's funny is that he feels "vindicated" because of the same legal technicalities he always tried to deny others. The ACLU would be on his side, ironically enough.

Of course this has nothing to do with whether he committed the crimes or not, so "vindication" is clearly in the eyes of the beholder.

Posted by: sufi66 | May 18, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

stevens ran alaska like a mom/pop operation.

he had to go. but, now all alaska has to protect the state is a couple of idiot broads, a rookie and an old man on the wrong side of the isle.

good luck, the multinationals will spoil it in 10 years or less.

Posted by: californicationdude | May 18, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

He's been acquited; fine. However, Stevens will always be known as a corrupt, far too connected for his own good senator -- who also should have retired a long time ago.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | May 18, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

He was NOT acquitted, after he was CONVICTED but not yet sentenced, the charges were dropped/withdrawn after the U.S. Atty Gen'l reviewed the case files and found that he agreed with the trial judge - the prosecutors had mucked up the case.

As an earlier commenter noted, Ted was guilty of hubris - his power as "The Hulk" went to his head, he thought he could do no wrong (or at least, not get caught doing it) and that poor perspective on his job finally caught up with him.

Posted by: MickFinn2001 | May 18, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Most of the reasons that we will not be tourists to Alaska this year are called Palin and Stevens.

Posted by: tomsdawson | May 19, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Maybe this case will be the beginning of judges reeling in over zealous prosecutors whose only objective is to win. These prosecutors were not nearly as interested in following fair rules and the law as they were in winning. Backfired, didn't it.

Posted by: Kansas28 | May 19, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

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