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What the Stevens Jury is Mulling

POSTED: 07:23 AM ET, 10/23/2008 by Derek Kravitz


Prosecutor K. Brenda Morris arrives today at U.S. District Court in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

As the "stressed out" jury resumes deliberations this morning in the corruption trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, a look at the 15 days of testimony shows what the panel of eight women and four men are likely discussing as they decide the Republican lawmaker's fate.

KEY POINTS FOR THE PROSECUTION

The Gifts -- Stevens had trouble answering questions about some of the gifts he allegedly took from oil executive Bill Allen, including a jumbo electric generator, an illuminating fish statue and a massage chair. His response to why the $2,695 chair was still in his Girdwood, Alaska, home? "In our house, we have lots of things in our house that don't belong to us," he said.

Angry and Grumpy Uncle Ted -- During his three days of testimony, the 84-year-old Stevens frequently quarreled with prosecutors, and even his own defense attorneys, as he was questioned about the gifts. "I'm not going to get into a numbers game -- you tell me what year you're asking about," Stevens told lead government prosecutor Brenda K. Morris after she asked him when he found out Allen had provided a new deck for his Alaska "chalet." "My bottom wasn't bare," Stevens fired back, after he was asked if the e-mails he sent regarding bills from contractors were really just "covering your bottom."

Bill Allen -- The government's star witness, the eccentric 71-year-old oil executive, was drinking and fishing buddies with Stevens and told jurors the pair "really liked each other." In recorded phone conversations, they went so far as to say they "loved" each other. But Allen proved to be a damaging witness on the stand. Likewise, a contractor, Augie Paone, testified that he was "shocked" when Allen told him to "eat" Stevens's bill.

The Tapes -- In secretly-recorded phone calls between Stevens and Allen, the Republican senator can be heard claiming he's done nothing wrong while acknowledging that "the worst that can happen to us is we run up a bunch of legal fees, and might lose and we might have to pay a fine, might have to serve some time in jail. I hope to Christ it never gets to that."

See the Keys for the Defense after the jump

KEY POINTS FOR THE DEFENSE

Ted's Character -- Several of Stevens's high-profile friends, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), went to bat for their friend, calling him "totally honest" and "someone whose word you could rely on."

Neighbor Bob -- Stevens's friend and neighbor, Bob Persons, contradicted some of Allen's testimony, calling one alleged conversation over Stevens's home renovation bills untrue and "crazy." Person's testimony helped bolster Stevens's claims that some of what Allen said was an "absolute lie."

Catherine Stevens -- Stevens's lead attorney, Brendan V. Sullivan Jr., told jurors that "when it comes to things around the tepee, the wife controls." He was referring to Stevens's wife, Catherine Stevens, who said she was in charge of the remodeling work done on the senator's home. Catherine Stevens told the jury that she was simply not aware that Allen was footing much of the bill or assigning his own employees to renovate the house from a single-story A-frame to a two-story "chalet" with wraparound porches. She also said her husband was a "workaholic" who was too busy to pay attention to the renovation or its costs.

By Derek Kravitz |  October 23, 2008; 7:23 AM ET Stevens Trial
Previous: Justice Says It Lacked Evidence to Charge Federal Oil Royalties Officials | Next: Editor's Note: Changes on Comments

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Thanks for putting "stressed out" in quotes. Just what we need, a wussy jury. Do your duty, ladies and gentlemen.

If obstreperousness were illicit, Stevens would go down for life. Unfortunately, even though "Stevens" and "sphincter" begin with the same letter, that's not proof dispositive under the law.

So get 'im for the small stuff, the Al Capone stuff, if that's all you can manage. That "loaned" massage chair for example. I'm sure Bubba and his boys will oblige him with periodic massages.

Posted by: laboo | October 23, 2008 8:29 AM

I AM SURPRISED IT WOULD TAKE THE JURY MORE THAN A FEW MINUTES TO FIND HIM GUILTY. I THINK "Prosecutor K. Brenda Morris" HAS DONE A VERY PROFFESSIONAL JOB. WE NEED TO WATCH ALL OF OUR POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVES NO MATTER AT WHAT LEVEL. NO ONE SHOULD BE ABOVE THE LAW.

Posted by: ROY ERNO | October 23, 2008 8:35 AM

I have read all that I can about this case. No where has it said how much the renovations were in total. No one has broken down the percentage of reported (senate forms) costs and total costs of the project. I'm trying to find out if the bills paid by Ms. Stevens were reasonable, in other words, if she paid $130,000 was it fair to assume that was a reasonable price to pay for the renovation.

Another fact I'd like exposed, how much time did the Senator actually spend there. Thanks

Posted by: Randall McDonnell | October 23, 2008 8:36 AM

Steven's, his wife, Allen and the rest of the coverup are all guilty as sin. Steven's is no different than his Republican crony's who have been caught cheating and in a pool of lies. The entire Alaskan government needs an intense remodeling. Wait until the truth comes out about Sarah Palin's house that was paid for by big oil!

Posted by: LKM2 | October 23, 2008 8:47 AM

Alaska has had for many years what by any measure could be called a "culture of corruption" when it comes to long-serving and powerful political figures. In that sense, Senator Stevens has every right to be outraged that anyone is questioning the generous back-handers he received. In truth, he was doing nothing unusual and he undoubtedly intended to repay Mr. Allen, by throwing a major government contract his way. So what's the problem? I mean, that's just the way things got done up there, right?

Now some whipper-snapper Federal prosecutor comes along and is trying to change something that is a hallowed tradition in Alaska: that all political figures are on the take. Oh, and we now learn that is how Sarah and Todd Palin got their nice new lakefront home built, also. There was a sports complex being built nearby. Doubtless some materials just seemed to fall off the trucks each day as they traveled to the larger project. A form of "wastage" one might say. Oh, and the work? Done by Todd and "some of his friends". Gosh, why didn't Senator Stevens think of that dodge? All the contractors were just his "friends"! And when you think about it, in such a small state, doesn't everyone know everyone else? Isn't everyone someone else's friend? That being the case, the construction of the Stevens and Palin houses were sort of like a traditional barn-raising, something we should celebrate, rather than something to investigate. I mean really, how rude to question a Republican political figure! What bad manners!

Posted by: Arthur | October 23, 2008 9:23 AM

In my opinion, Stevens should be acquitted on all charges. First, Stevens and his wife are two people, so only half of any gift is truly reportable by Senator Ted. The County assessor valued the improvements at $104,000 and Mrs. Stevens wrote checks for $160,000, which is one and a half times what the job was worth. Who would put a steel staircase in a ski area? Slippery? You bet. This whole thing about Bill Allen stinks. What a lousy witness for the government. He wreaks with corruption. The government should be ashamed of trying to hide exculpatory evidence. Fire the prosectors and others involved. Time to get on to more important business with taxpayers money.

Posted by: armyvet | October 23, 2008 9:26 AM

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