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An Angry Judge at Stevens Trial

POSTED: 02:54 PM ET, 10/ 7/2008 by Derek Kravitz

The surprises keep coming at the corruption trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan admonished Anchorage attorney Robert Bundy after the judge thought he saw him signaling to his client, Bill Allen, on the witness stand yesterday. Sullivan threatened to hold Bundy in contempt and called Bundy's gestures "borderline obstruction of justice," according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Bundy did not appear in court today, thinking he would not be welcome, said his law partner, Creighton Magid. "He is torn up about this," said Magid, who also said Bundy "vehemently denies" making any signals to Allen, according to The Associated Press.

Allen, the government's star witness against Stevens, is making his second trip to the witness stand as the trial enters its third week. (Roll Call notes that by cooperating with federal authorities, he is allowed to keep millions that he had earned from the sale of his Anchorage oil firm, Veco Corp.)

Yesterday, jurors heard secretly-recorded phone calls (transcript) between Stevens and Allen. Stevens, 84, is accused of hiding improper gifts he received from Allen, including home improvements to the tune of $250,000.

On the tapes (and in between the occasional four-letter word, the health tips and the heartfelt I-love-you's from Allen) Stevens tells his fishing and drinking buddy that he's confident he's done nothing wrong -- but also says he's worried about possible jail time.

"These guys can't really hurt us," he says in one phone call, referring to government prosecutors. "They're not going to shoot us. Hell, the worst that can happen to us is that we run up a bunch of legal fees, and might lose and might have to pay a fine and might have to serve a little time in jail -- I hope to Christ it never gets to that -- and I don't think it will. I'm developing the attitude that I don't think I did anything wrong so I'm going to go right through my life and keep doing what I think is right."

The tapes -- from August, September and October 2006 -- paint a picture of Stevens grappling with an ongoing FBI probe while steadfastly maintaining his innocence. Allen had agreed to be recorded by government prosecutors.

At one point during the tapes, Stevens tells Allen "I've never been up against a bunch like this one before," adding that he had only slept about four hours per night that week "thinking about all this (expletive) that's going down."

The Associated Press aptly used the words "defiant" and "salty" to describe Stevens in the conversations. But he also appears to be worried about his son, Ben Stevens, who Veco Corp. executives paid $300,000 for consulting work between 2000 and 2006. Allen told investigators that other company executives questioned whether Ben Stevens, a former Alaska state lawmaker, performed any actual work, according to court documents filed late Sunday.

(A side note: Stevens also tells Allen that his uncle, Walter, invented the sandwich toaster and the waffle iron, but was sued for patent infringement and lost all of his money during the Great Depression. "He just was simple enough to think that you just sent in your application for a patent, and you kept going on making more things," Stevens says in a phone call dated Oct. 18, 2006. Charles V. Champion Sr. invented the "Tostwich," a combination electric toaster and sandwich maker, sometime before 1920. Cornelius Swarthout patented the first waffle iron even earlier -- in 1869.)

By Derek Kravitz |  October 7, 2008; 2:54 PM ET Stevens Trial
Previous: Now Live: Our Investigative Projects Archive | Next: AIG Executive Retreat Irks Lawmakers

Comments

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Inventing toasters and sandwich makers is a crumby business.

Posted by: Sigmond | October 7, 2008 3:50 PM

I guess they do tings a little different up there in Alaska.
"They're not going to shoot us. Hell, the worst that can happen to us is that we run up a bunch of legal fees, and might lose and might have to pay a fine and might have to serve a little time in jail -- I hope to Christ it never gets to that -- and I don't think it will".

This is a member of the US Senate!?? He sounds more like a organized crime boss. No wonder he got along so well with Tom Delay and the Bush Crime Family. We need to throw the entire bunch of self-serving Republicans out on their butts.

Posted by: thebob.bob | October 7, 2008 3:56 PM

When Senator Stevens mentions “jail time”, I personally think he was concerned about his friend, Mr. Allen!

Posted by: williammurr | October 7, 2008 3:56 PM

I say we fry the old crook in the 'lectric chair!

Posted by: Grizzly Adams | October 7, 2008 3:58 PM

They aren't any different than the self-serving Democrats like Barney Frank and Charley Rangel.

Posted by: Mark | October 7, 2008 3:59 PM

If he'll lie about some cockamamie toaster and sandwich maker to his "best friend" can we expect the truth when he is called to account for bribery and lying on government reports of gifts?

He'd lie if the truth would save him; he can' help himself; he is a congenital liar

Posted by: joel palmer | October 7, 2008 4:01 PM

What is up with all the Barney Frank exposure all of the sudden? Is he running for Queen?

Posted by: Fredo | October 7, 2008 4:07 PM

Hey, Grizzly "They aren't any different than the self-serving Democrats like Barney Frank and Charley Rangel" Adams.
Stevens is quite different: He got caught doing illegal things and was taped while having a phone conversations about his illegal activity that would make Gotti blush.
So to be clear, to explain the difference between Rangel and Frank, and Ted Stevens to You: Stevens is about to have a name change, and carry the burden of being a convicted criminal. As for Frank and Rangel? They are Not on trial here.
See? That's a Big difference!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 7, 2008 4:12 PM

Oh yes they are different Griz. The repugs have always been much worse. Especially since the Bush crime family came to town. These guys are venoumous and responsible for thousands upon thousands of lives. These "Christian" snake-oil oozers make me sick and they should all be hauled off to a nice hot Texas jail for the rest of there lives. Cheney and Stevens right behind "W".

Posted by: Uncle Grizzly's Adams Apple | October 7, 2008 4:15 PM

I've forgiven Clinton for lying about Monica. I'll forgive ted his waffle iron fib.

Posted by: beezelbubba | October 7, 2008 4:16 PM

"They aren't any different than the self-serving Democrats like Barney Frank and Charley Rangel." [Mark]

Yes, they are.

Please stop excusing conservative corruption by making false analogies to other lawmakers. The "Clinton did it too" excuse must be retired if honor and integrity are to be restored.

Posted by: Todd | October 7, 2008 4:16 PM

Do you think the judge was upset about Bundy's finger puppets?

Posted by: Kar | October 7, 2008 4:19 PM

Yeah, Grizzly! The big difference is, Frank and Rangel haven't been caught.

Yet.

That's the beauty of playing in the big leagues. Democrats and Republicans alike, you get to keep stuffing your pockets until you attract the attention of Eye of Sauron, then you get disgraced or imprisoned. The more money you have, the less likely you are to get caught, or rather, the more likely you buy off the Eye to pass on to the next player.

It's like Hot Potato, or Musical Chairs, but you know, with white collar prison, instead of sitting on the sidelines.

Posted by: Uncle J | October 7, 2008 4:21 PM

personally, I see no crime here.

All those statements are consistent with the position of an innocent man knowing full well that innocent people go to jail sometimes.

The judge will not go for a mistrial (barring another egregious outburst from the prosecution) but he may be amenable to a directed verdict of not-guilty (bypassing the jury) or a formal verdict of not-guilty despite the juries determination. (if it gets that far)

Did Stevens know he was getting "Sweetheart treatment?" perhaps. If he had willful ignorance (i.e. SHOULD have known that the billing was bad, and was in his favor) then he may be convicted, but there is enough wiggle room that if the case is dismissed, it will survive appeal.

Posted by: steve | October 7, 2008 4:22 PM

Hey Anonymous: the difference between Rangel and Frank, and Ted Stevens to You: Stevens is about to have a name change, and carry the burden of being a convicted criminal. As for Frank and Rangel? They are Not on trial here.
See? That's a Big difference!!!
No I don't see the difference, it is just a matter of time.

Posted by: Anonymous 2 | October 7, 2008 4:26 PM

"The big difference is, Frank and Rangel haven't been caught. That's the beauty of playing in the big leagues." [Kar]

This cynicism you have toward our country and it's government borders on treason.

Why do you hate America?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 7, 2008 4:30 PM

If he'll lie about some cockamamie toaster and sandwich maker to his "best friend" can we expect the truth when he is called to account for bribery and lying on government reports of gifts?

He'd lie if the truth would save him; he can' help himself; he is a congenital liar

Posted by: joel palmer | October 7, 2008 4:01 PM


And so would you. If you were faced with a 20 year jail sentence you would lie like a rug. Spare us your self righteous BS.

Posted by: askgees | October 7, 2008 4:30 PM

So far there is no crime, just a rush to judgment...

Posted by: williammurr | October 7, 2008 4:31 PM

You can tell Ted Stevens is a republican! He is standing trial! At the same time democrats who committed felonies are free. Newt Gingrich phone cell phone call was recorded and used fo force him out of office. Nothing happened to the person(s) who recorede it. Palin email was hacked and placed on the web for anybody to see it. Nothing happened here either and both were DEMOCRATS.

Posted by: Curly | October 7, 2008 4:31 PM

"The big difference is, Frank and Rangel haven't been caught. That's the beauty of playing in the big leagues." [Kar]

Rangel is under investigation as we speak, so I guess he got CAUGTH. Where do you get your facts from CNN.

Posted by: askgees | October 7, 2008 4:33 PM

"At the same time democrats who committed felonies are free. " [Curly]

Bush lied to congress about the threat of Iraq and started a war. He's still free and he's a REPUBLICAN.

Posted by: Todd | October 7, 2008 4:35 PM

Wow, if there is not sufficient evidence to call a mistrial, I must be living on Pluto. Hiding favorable discovery from the defense, and then having a lawyer send in hand signals to the Fed's star witness. Something stinks here.....Even if the dude is guilty, the Fed's and the lawyer for the Star witness have really crossed the line here. Time to call a mistrial and start over.

Posted by: Martin | October 7, 2008 4:35 PM

Mad toaster wilding on the lie tip

Posted by: JSKI | October 7, 2008 4:35 PM

"Rangel is under investigation as we speak"

You know the difference between an "investigation" and a "trial", right?

Posted by: Todd | October 7, 2008 4:37 PM

Funny...Clinton always gets roped into these and frankly I'd rather have a President lie about "relations" than WMD's "Cake" & intelligence which led to the deaths of 4,000 patriots. Why hasn't W been impeached.

They are all liars... I like the way Biden put it "Never Question Motives, Only Question Judgment".

In all cases their judgment was flawed and others should replace them in office regardless of whether they are Republicans or Democrats.

Posted by: Me | October 7, 2008 4:40 PM

Watching you silly Americans arguing over your riduculous politicians is quite amusing - - - thank you.

I trust none of you have US passports.

Posted by: Superior European | October 7, 2008 4:45 PM

"Inventing toasters and sandwich makers is a crumby business." That is the best one I have heard in a very long time, and it was clean.

Posted by: Doyle Hargraves | October 7, 2008 4:45 PM

Sen. Stevens is a class act. He is a charming and principled man, and now I learn that his family was full of inventors! That earned Ted my vote. God bless him.

Posted by: Agnes | October 7, 2008 4:46 PM

Back then the patten office wasn't just a truck that you dump things on, it was a series of tubes. That probably confused the elder Stevens a little.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 7, 2008 4:46 PM

Hey Todd & Anonymous,

Barney Frank & his band of crooks in the Senate DEFINE what's criminal. They just let their buddies on wall street loot the American people 'legally.' The law is supposed to be based on our collective concept of justice. To believe that the current law defines what is just is a perversion.

Posted by: David | October 7, 2008 4:48 PM

When will they be calling Sarah Palin to the stand?

Posted by: Carl Childers | October 7, 2008 4:48 PM

Hang EM High.

What hapened to honorable service?

Posted by: JIM | October 7, 2008 4:51 PM

I was talking to a lobbyist who worked in Alaska during the pipeline boom. He said the Alaska delegation was on the take then and everyone knew it. It's taken this long to get them. I lived up there in the 1980s and 90s and I knew it was corrupt from the oily folks up there. But I assumed it was in the running with Mississippi, Louisiana, and Rhode Island. Acoording to him Alaska is the most corrupt state in the union. Why? Because the whole state is bought off by the dividend check everyone gets every year.
It made me think..... Perhaps it is time to nationalize oil... Just a thought. Olympia, WA

Posted by: Carrie Ann | October 7, 2008 4:52 PM

Yes, and if George Bush has not done enough damage to the world, his last fatal blow is to bail out his Wall Street buddies. He just couldn't stand it. He had to do just a little more world damage before he leaves. It is really working miracles. You can see by the fact that the market is worse than it was before the vote. We really got a bargain and a great value for 70 big ones. And to think we have to keep paying this demon until the day he dies. God help us if we have to waste more millions on a Bush presidential library. Maybe he will settle for a Blockbuster in Dallas? How do you tell in George Bush is a liar. . . . You guessed it, his lips are moving.

Posted by: Ken Moore | October 7, 2008 4:55 PM

Of course the judge is angry. Look at his background. Never appointed to a position by anyone but a Republican. He's simply doing his best to de-rail this case. With him it's totally a political issue.

Posted by: Frank | October 7, 2008 4:57 PM

Thanks, Jim. Now I know its time to go to the Gym for a workout. Your sick Man!

Posted by: williammurr | October 7, 2008 4:57 PM

To the one asking why Barney is being discussed, all you have to do is check the math.

Barney as the head of the House Finance Committee had a lover who was an executive at Fannie Mae coming up with those "product initiatives" that are now costing us $700 billion dollars. Barney did not see this as a conflict of interest while standing on the floor telling everyone that everything was just fine over at Fannie Mae.

You can't just label an entire party as corrupt. But you spend enough time in D.C. with power and see what happens. Dems and Reps are guilty. We need term limits on U.S. representatives too.

Posted by: ThinkAboutIt | October 7, 2008 4:58 PM

Yes we can label an entire party corrupt. It is spelled Republican. They are the ones that put this idiot in office and his father. Is worldwide damage, crisis and poverty not enough. What in Hades does have to happen to make it bad enough for you to get it. God the mexicans are even going back to mexico to get out of this mess.

Posted by: Lacrisha | October 7, 2008 5:03 PM

this is just stupid

Posted by: anon | October 7, 2008 5:13 PM

Lacrisha,

What are you some Mexican travel agent? And what do you know about Hades? Also, the Republicans only put the Bushes up on display - it was the American people that actually voted to put them in power. And why are you mad about Sr. coming to power - seriously, who was gonna vote for that Dukakis guy who had a wife that likes to swig rubbing alcohol? It isn't like there were a lot of great candidates and choices.

Posted by: anon | October 7, 2008 5:21 PM

>Of course the judge is angry. Look at his background. Never appointed to a position by anyone but a Republican. He's simply doing his best to de-rail this case. With him it's totally a political issue.
_____
Umm, Judge Sullivan was appointed to the District Court Bench by President Clinton. Get your facts straight; then you can distort them any way you want


Posted by: upperdeck4 | October 7, 2008 5:29 PM

He loves Sarah Palin and she loves him back. Of course it's a secret crush now, but we all know it's true.

Posted by: Al | October 7, 2008 5:50 PM

Oh, yeah ... Ted Stevens.

Speaking of toast ...

Posted by: Burned Up | October 7, 2008 5:53 PM

Nationalize oil? I'm with you, Jim. The industry is waiting for their $100 million tax credit. Give it to them. Then nationalize it. EVERYBODY GETS WHAT THEY WANT!

Posted by: Jim | October 7, 2008 5:57 PM

This is just an old crook that just got caught. What the hell is wrong with the people in his district that keep reelecting him, maybe he is paying off the people he represents. Also the other jerk is going to jail also, take both of them to the wood shed and shoot them and feed then to the bears.

The only way to clean up Washington is to get rid of ALL of them.

Posted by: Inurface | October 7, 2008 5:59 PM

This case is a joke.

Senator Stevens is a crook (plain and simple). He's been stealing from the citizens of this country for years.

Now he's under investigation and with the help of a few connections, he will get little to no time in jail (or fined).

The average citizen would be serving time in jail, already.

Posted by: ssanford00 | October 7, 2008 6:02 PM

Nearly every member of Congress, both parties, and "our" President and VP - - nothing but gangsters and thieves, the country has been destroyed by them and the bankster/gangsters and Wall Street . . . the media helped it all along b/c the same criminals own the newspapers and the rest of the media.

Posted by: Criminals | October 7, 2008 6:03 PM

"At the same time democrats who committed felonies are free. " [Curly]

Bush lied to congress about the threat of Iraq and started a war. He's still free and he's a REPUBLICAN.

//

As long as we're paying trubute to the pnes who have successfully evaded justice, let us not forget Osama bin Laden, who is, thanks to George Bush, free as a bird and no doubt enjoying the headlines in today's papers.

Posted by: DFC | October 7, 2008 6:04 PM

This is for askgees: Not all of us would, nor would we do the things that Stevens did. Maybe that's why you will vote for the same old thing.
Go Obama/Biden

Posted by: Recovering Republican | October 7, 2008 6:19 PM

You Republifools just crack me up. You're tired of beating up on Nancy Pelosi, so now Barney Frank's the new villain of the day. Yes, Mr. Frank, along with every single other politician in Washington (Republican or Democrat) pushed for expanded lending by Fannie and Freddie to boost home ownership. Last time I checked, Mr. Frank was also instrumental in turning Paulsen's "give me a trillion dollars and trust me" plan into a workable bill with oversight and assistance to ordinary people as well as the super-rich. Barney Frank is one of the few heroes of this debacle of a "rescue."

I'm sad to say that the Republican Party is still just as racist and homophobic as it ever was. It has just learned to disguise its hatred using a different terminology. The ONLY reason Barney Frank is a Republican punching bag is because he is gay. You don't have to admit or deny it -- we all know it.

Just as the only reason for Obama's pastor being an issue is because Obama is black. In this day and age, you can't say "don't vote for the black candidate, or the gay candidate." Instead, you have to cast him as a secret friend of anarchists and terrorists. It's like the way old George W. injects those religious code-words into his speeches, hoping that it'll go right over the heads of everyone except their target audience. It's simply sickening that in this day and age our nation tolerates this atmosphere of religious intolerance, racism, and gay-bashing.

To all of you Barney Frank haters out there: everyone knows what this is really all about. By the way, we also know that most homophobes doth protest too much. Are you sure you aren't just a little bit gay yourselves?

Posted by: Steve | October 7, 2008 6:20 PM

The way he looks and move around, the SOB may just faint death.

Posted by: winemaster2 | October 7, 2008 6:20 PM

Crusty crooked piece of crap. You call yourself a "senator?"

I call you "republican."

Posted by: Justice Cometh Old Man!!! | October 7, 2008 6:29 PM

Politics as usual in Alaska. Alaska's politicians, especially Ted Stevens, bring home the pork, taking a thick slice of bacon for themselves and their friends wherever possible.

It's just business as usual in the Great White North. They're used to not having us lower 48 folks pay much attention to them, unless some fool runs an oil tanker aground or they start acting like ANWR is their personal oil field.

You can Bet Lil' Sarah's family and friends are rubbing their hands, praying that she gets in. Drill baby drill! Papa needs a new snowmobile!

Posted by: Bagheera | October 7, 2008 6:47 PM

m'i missing something here corruption,greed cronyism and dishonesty is not about political affiliations or hero worship{mccain&glenn got off because they were icons to some}that rangel is a crook,the guy from louisiana with the cold cash is a crook,and for some to say there are probably alot of other that haven't been caught yet is not a vindication for corruption,greed,cronyism or dishonesty but an indictment of the corruption,greed,cronyism and dishonesty that prevails in government and to take it one step farther of how lopsided the so called scales of justice are when some are allowed to ignore lawful subpoenas{rove,white house staffers justice department staffers,governor palin husband and her staffers}let you are me do it and see where it gets us.I KNOW there are those who might ask " but brk dck what can we do this is the way it's always been those in power march to the beat of a different drummer but every now and then throw us a bone to prove they are cleaning house but in the end the high water mark of corruption,greed,cronyism and dishonesty finds it comfort level.to which i ask are you saying that clintons amassing of 100mil dollars since leaving office or rove,and ollie north getting cushy jobs for being involved in government scandals or granting of immunity to telecom companies that broke the law. if that is what you are saying than i say its not the players ITS THE GAME,CHANGE THE GAME SO THAT POLITICANS THEIR FAMILIES OR WASHINGTON INSIDERS CANN'T PROFIT FROM BEING PLAYERS IN THE GAME OR FROM THEIR CLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH PLAYERS IN THE GAME FOR AT LEAST 8YRS AFTER LEAVING OFFICE OR 6YRS FOR FAMILY.FRIENDS&ASSOCIATES I know there are those who would say"but broke dck who would want to run for public office with that kinda restriction to which i say THOSE THAT ARE TRULY INTERRESTED IN DOING THE PEOPLES BUSINESS

Posted by: brkdckdwg | October 7, 2008 6:57 PM

What a stupid nation the U.S. is if its citizens measure their leaders by the fact that they are all basically corrupt. I say, hang all the bastards and those who helped them along the way.

Posted by: mendez | October 7, 2008 7:00 PM

Senator Stevens only stole $1/4 million, Barney Frank and the other democratic crooks Clinton, Obama, Frank, Bush, Biden, Kanjorski, Pelosi, Reid and Dodd stole $2+ TRILLION in pension funds and then stole $1 TRILLION in the $700 BILLION bailout. Let's get the bigtime crooks. Vote for Ralph Nader because he is the only honest person that can save America. Ralph Nader will go after every one of these crooks. These crooks better pray that I never have the authority to go after them because I would declare them enemy combatants and send them to Guantanamo for aggressive interrogation and daily waterboarding.

Posted by: WHewitt671 | October 7, 2008 9:06 PM

i know this is off the beaten path and i dont expect to get a response from the washington post but maybe one of you readers might know why is it that the washington post and other news outlets seem to gleeful report any thing negatibe about barrack obama past associates but not so much as a whimper on mccains condemnation of this country and the proganda flims he made for the enemy also the drugs{which ended up on american city streets} for arms iran,contra affair,his membership in an anti communist,anti semitic nazi sympathizing organazation and him a us senator,or sara palins husbands membership in a group that calls for alasakas succession from the union or the connections of her pastor and mentor i'm not pasting judgement i'm just curious

Posted by: brkdckdwg | October 7, 2008 9:14 PM

Sigmond said: "Inventing toasters and sandwich makers is a crumby business."


I see what you did there. =)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 7, 2008 9:26 PM

Let him be cell mates with fellow GOP treasonous crook Duke Cunningham. Then throw in Larry Craig. I'm sure they could make beautiful, christian right music together in their well deserved sentence. Or, isn't hanging the current penalty for treason? What the GOP has pulled off under the Bush(s)/Cheney GOP reign is nothing less than treason, and this bum is part of it all. Prison would be better than people like him deserve.

Posted by: humanbeng | October 7, 2008 10:48 PM

Ted Stevens should be thrown into jail. that is the only way in which America will stand up to her reputation as a nation of laws. The miserable hypocrite should be ashamed of showing his face in public, much less running for office again.

Posted by: alzach | October 7, 2008 11:08 PM

oops cons !!

not to forget -

Palin’s name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,” a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.

Palin’s relationship with Alaska’s senior senator may be one of the more complicated aspects of her new position as Sen. John McCain’s running mate; Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on seven counts of corruption.

Posted by: ripley | October 7, 2008 11:18 PM

The other day a lobbyist came into the library where I work. We started talking about Alaska. He said Alaska is the most corrupt state in the union. I lived there too and I knew it was corrupt from the oily folks. I just thought it was just in the running for corruption with Louisiana, Mississippi and Rhode Island. But according to this man, the Alaska delegation was on the take in the pipeline days and this has been going on a long time and the whole state is bought off with the dividend check. And the thing that's bringing Stevens down is work done on his house! This is probably small potatoes for Stevens. Also can't wait for Young to go down too. We need a clean sweep in Alaska. I hope the progressive Alaskans keep the pressure up on Troopergate too.

Posted by: Carrie Ann | October 8, 2008 1:51 AM

This case gets thrown for prosecutorial misconduct. If not at this level, then on appeal.

How could federal prosecutors be so stupid?

Posted by: George Hanshaw | October 8, 2008 10:39 AM

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