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Stevens Corruption Trial To Begin Today

POSTED: 12:03 PM ET, 09/22/2008 by Derek Kravitz

The public corruption case against longtime Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) is set to begin this week, with the political future of the former Appropriations Committee chairman hanging in the balance.

Prosecutors filed seven corruption charges against the 84-year-old Stevens on July 29, accusing the Republican icon of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and favors from a now-defunct Alaska oil firm. While prosecutors say Stevens didn't grant political favors in exchange for the sweetheart car deals and home improvements, they allege Stevens didn't report the monies on his Senate financial disclosure forms. Jury selection is scheduled for today.

Stevens has continued to urge the public to reserve judgment against him. "I am innocent of the charges against me, and I think the trial will show that," he said last Friday.

Stevens has asked that his trial be finished before the Nov. 4 general election, where he is seeking a seventh term but facing a tough challenge from Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, a Democrat, who has pulled ahead of him at the polls.

However, Stevens might have some things going for him. His defense team has been allowed to look at the medical records of the government's star witness, former VECO Corp. chief executive Bill Allen, to see if brain injuries suffered during a 2001 motorcycle accident affected his "ability to recall past events," The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Journal also noted that Stevens's attorney, Brendan V. Sullivan Jr. of Williams & Connolly LLP, has represented several high-profile clients, including Oliver North during the Iran-Contra scandal.

Criminal defense attorneys gave Stevens's tactic of speeding up the trial date mixed reviews but told The Post's Del Quentin Wilber and Paul Kane that his attorneys are likely to argue that the lack of a bribery charge shows the lawmaker didn't do anything wrong and that his aides filled out the financial disclosure forms, not Stevens.

But Allen, who has pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges and has testified at two trials of Alaska lawmakers, might prove to be a tough witness to handle. "The trials portrayed a raucous, frontier atmosphere in Juneau, the state capital, where Mr. Allen and his lobbyists set themselves up in a liquor-stocked hotel suite and summoned legislators to direct their votes on oil issues," The New York Times reports.

By Derek Kravitz |  September 22, 2008; 12:03 PM ET Stevens Trial
Previous: Wall Street Bailout, Cheney Documents, Sen. Stevens on Trial | Next: Dem Lawmaker's Son Probed in Palin E-mail Case


Please email us to report offensive comments.

And yet there is no charges being brought up on Palin for her misappropriation of funds for SUVs and trips that involved her own home.

Posted by: Xander | September 22, 2008 12:53 PM

This little piggie went to Washington and now we have another little piggie trying to go too. She was for the bridge to nowhere until it became a joke but hey the little piggie kept the dough. Let us pray that the new little piggie does not get to go we we we all the way to the White House.

Posted by: COL MARK WITTINGTON US ARMY!! | September 22, 2008 12:56 PM

Here is a not so famous quote from someone in Sarah Palins Circle.
Im a f@*kin redneck, F**K with me Ill kick your A#@! Who said it?

Watch Preview of the VP debates

Posted by: Anonymous | September 22, 2008 12:57 PM

Having worked for Veco I can say...yeah sweetheart deals is how things got done.

Posted by: mailfisted | September 22, 2008 1:00 PM

Stevens should not vewied as a republican or a democrat. He is just another crook who sold his votes to the highest bidder.

Posted by: Lee J | September 22, 2008 1:06 PM

Q: How can you tell if a Republican is lying? A: Their lips are moving.

Q: How can you tell if a Republican is corrupt and dishonest? A: They're breathing.

Posted by: L Smith | September 22, 2008 1:09 PM

Obama Baby, you are a good public speaker, but you are also the most liberal candidate that is the product of Chicago Southside Political Machine which has a long and rich history of political corruption of the first magnitude. You are indeed a child of that system and I don''t want you anywhere near the Oval Office...have a nice day.

Posted by: TPE | September 22, 2008 1:12 PM

What is surprising about this revelation. ANYONE who has been in Washington for 35 years is guilty of malfeasance of one kind or another.

What is disheartening to this 76 year old poster is that we, the voters, keep buying their continuous line of false promises and sending them back to Washington to continue their rape of national coffures in the name of 'public good.'

Corruption is so rampant at all levels of government and big business, personal greed being the fuel that makes it grow, it is no wonder the 'average' (whatever the hell the government defines as average) citizen no longer places any trust in any elected official or corporate CEO.

The Wall Street melt down with the government coming to the aid of the totally incompetent CEO's and their investors is a perfect example of 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' mentallity that pervades the elite financial experts that wish to tell us how to conserve are wealth for retirement.

Problem with their theory is that the 'average' American cannot steal and remain out of jail.

They are a complete disgrace.

Posted by: dharper | September 22, 2008 1:14 PM

The astonishing thing about this trial is that McCain did the same thing Stevens is accused of. McCain took numerous trips to posh vacation resorts- all paid for by Chuck Keating.

You might recall the SL bailout that cost taxpayers billions- McCain's pal, Keating, was one of the folks who benefited by McCain working to prevent banking regulators from doing their job. So there was a quid pro quo... McCain got trips, and Keating got favors.

So now McCain is running for president and Stevens is on trial. And both took gifts and did not disclose them.

Why the press does not pound this point is amazing. Why isn't the press doing its job?

Posted by: Alaskan | September 22, 2008 1:19 PM

TPE: I thought the article was about Ted Stevens?

Posted by: jw | September 22, 2008 1:20 PM

Reply to TPE:

AHhh.. So we have somebody spewing the Republican talking points. The guilt by association smearing that you guys and gals do so well.

TPE name one politician that has been indicted for corruption to which Obama has direct links. You can't.

Whereas, Palin has been intimately tied to Stevens and his backroom deals. She got him to send pork her way as Mayor and Governor. She ran a committee for him.

McCain is no better with the Keating 5 scandal of de-regulating Savings and Loans. Now his de-regulation has caused another HUGE bailout with the banking industry.

Go ahead keep spewing your propaganda. This informed voter knows the truth about what has caused this financial and economic mess. It is the Republicans like Stevens, Phil Gramm, John McCain and GW Bush.

Posted by: Mike in Sac | September 22, 2008 1:21 PM

Reply to Alaskan:

You have to remember the press is corporate. They aren't all as biased as FOX, but they are, on the whole, only as hard hitting as their corporate owners allow them to be. That goes for CNN.

The press is clearly not doing their job. This Stevens trial is going to get buried in a back page. There won't be a huge deal about it because the Republicans who own the news outlets will suppress it.

Why do you think McCain gets a free pass from the press all the time. They let him have gaffe after gaffe and don't slam him for it. Yet Obama is skewered for any implied wrong statement.

Obama is not a corporate candidate and McCain is one. Pure and simple self-interest on the part of the media owners.

Posted by: Mike in Sac | September 22, 2008 1:28 PM

Alaska exists because of Federal government subsidies and Stevens has been a master of bringing home the bacon all the while playing to Alaskans image of themselves are rugged individualist. 90% of Steven's campaign for reelection (and Rep. Don Young's as well)has been "Better send me back to keep those Federal dollars coming home." Ted HAS done a lot for Alaska. He has also enriched his friends along the way. The real problem as I see it, is that Ted has gotten to the point where he believes that these kinds of favors and gifts are just his due and can't see the wrong in them. It's the hubris of the man that galls me.

Posted by: senigma | September 22, 2008 2:01 PM

I doubt Uncle Ted will beat the rap.
As as best, I can tell the case is based on a paper trail.

That is hard to beat, when it is sworn many statements which failed to report gifts.

Posted by: Joe | September 22, 2008 2:33 PM

Washington Post, for the sake of all of the common folk in the "hinterland" of Alaska and the middle of the U.S., please investigate the money and politics of this "state." It seems that folks up there in the great white north would rather be left alone, but since they can see Russia, want the protection of the U.S. military.

Uninformed religious extremists like the Taliban and Sarah Palin should not drive policy in any country, especially not the "US of A" -- that argument transpired in the 1600s and 1700s in this country, and was settled. And please spare us the "POW" crap John McCain. You saw what happened to a real war hero in 2004 (John Kerry).

Posted by: mountainman | September 22, 2008 2:40 PM

For you folks in the Lower 48 who know very little about Alaska...

We are one of the newest states, I know people who signed our state Constitution.

As a new state, with vast land mass- we could cut Alaska in two piece and Texas would then be the third largest state.

Getting the basic infrastructure built up here does take Federal support. Sorry if you do not like that, but with only 660,000 people up here there is only so much Alaskans can do to build that infrastructure. The so called "bridge to nowhere" is really a bride to connect Ketchikan to its airport. I'll bet few of you have ever heard that before.

As the cost of the project ballooned to over 400 million dollars Sarah Palin said-" way". What made sense when the bridge was 50 million no longer made sense when its cost increased beyond reason.

As far as Sarah- I know her, and find her to be a warm, kind, and honest person. What you see in her public appearances is who she really is. There is no phony political persona with Sarah.

Having said all of this- Ted needs to go... he is an embarrassment. At 84 he is too old to be effective and he has used his office to enrich his family- particularly his corrupt son, Ben Stevens.

Posted by: Alaskan | September 22, 2008 3:45 PM

Oh now I see everything. If I hire some flunky to fill out the form, I'm innocent. What a concept!

Posted by: Robert Lee | September 22, 2008 4:06 PM

"As a new state, with vast land mass- we could cut Alaska in two piece and Texas would then be the third largest state" said Alaskan
Alaskan, Okayyyyy . . . so your geographic area makes you what . . . always right? A tough guy? Spare us! By that reasoning, bow down to the neighbor your lipstick bull-dog hockey mom governor Palin supposedly sees: Siberia. Or better yet, Santa Claus who rules the North Pole and the Arctic.
Down here in the "lower 48" which by my count is still bigger than Alaska, and includes Texas, we are still grappling with some big issues ... please feel free to join us.

Posted by: mountainman | September 22, 2008 4:58 PM

The United States of America is a Kleptocracy. Every once in a while they toss one to the dogs for the encouragement of the others.

Nevertheless, I'm a strong Obama supporter. Democratic crooks tend to be less hypocritical, less greedy, and less likely to hide behind the big skirts of God and Patriotism. Asking your holy-roller congregation to pray for your pipeline project --- barf city.

Posted by: Will | September 22, 2008 5:48 PM

Sarah Palin went to Bill Allen's home in 2001 and subsequently received $5,000 for her lieutenant governor campaign, which "came at $500 a pop over a two-day period in late December from Allen, his executives and a couple of their spouses, representing 10 percent of all money Palin raised in her 2002 campaign."

Palin has previously endorsed Senator Stevens, and despite her fame as a born-again reformer, she has remained conspicuously silent on Stevens since her selection as VP. Go ahead, ask her whether she supports or opposes Stevens for reelection to the Senate.

Posted by: DoTheMath | September 22, 2008 7:00 PM

Mountainman- My, why are you so hostile? The basic facts are that Alaska has the MOST land mass, and miles of coastline, and the least amount of basic infrastructure of all of the US states.

Is it not reasonable that a new state with the above circumstances would need the most investments to build the infrastructure to acceptable levels?

Come on.

In Alaska we can not even drive to the West Coast of our state- there is not a single road to that region. There is only one road to the entire Northern half of our state- the Dalton Highway.

We can not even drive to our state's capitol, Juneau. Why? Again, because there is not a road to Juneau.

Folks in the Lower 48 have no idea how much work is needed to get Alaska to the point where we just have the minimum infrastructure in place.

Imagine what Maryland's roads were like in the 1820's. That's Alaska. To the extent that Ted Stevens worked to gain funds for essential projects in a young state he deserves some credit.

It is too bad that many of the promises made when Alaska gained statehood have been broken by the federal government. If those promises had been kept, we would need less assistance from Congress.

Posted by: Alaskan | September 22, 2008 7:06 PM


Posted by: benighse | September 22, 2008 7:15 PM

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