A Washington jury found Senator Ted Stevens guilty on all seven counts of failing to report gifts. The 84 year-old senator has represented Alaska for 40 years, and is up for re-election next week.
The senator betrayed little emotion as the verdict was read, but he appeared tired and lowered his head as the jury foreman answered the first of seven “guilty”s.
Lawyers for both sides argued for nearly six hours yesterday to the jury in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens, who is accused of failing to report gifts he received.
Referring to the massage chair prosecutor Joseph Bottini asked : “Does anyone really believe he thought that chair was a loan?. What were the terms of this loan? Zero percent interest for 84
Senator Stevens’ attorney, Brendan Sullivan, told the jurors : “Without sufficient evidence, the government comes here late in the
night of a good man’s life and tries to brand him a criminal.”
After being instructed in the law by the judge the jury began their deliberations, or maybe ordered lunch, at 11:58 today.
AP story here.
Testimony in the trial of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens concluded today with prosecutor Brenda Morris interrogating the senator about a massage chair given to him by a friend.
Morris: That chair, it’s still in your house?
Morris: How is that not a gift?
Stevens: He bought that chair as a gift, but I refused it as a gift. He put it there and said it was my chair. I told him I would not accept
it as a gift. We have lots of things in our house that don’t belong to
Morris: So, if you say it’s not a gift, it’s not a gift?
Closing arguments tomorrow. The jury to begin deliberations on Wednesday.
NYT story here.
Part of Senator Stevens’ defense against the accusation that he did not report expensive improvements to his Alaska “chalet” is that he never received a bill. Prosecutor Brenda Sullivan, referring to emails in which the senator discussed billing, suggested that the emails were sent just “to cover your bottom?” “My bottom wasn’t bare, ma’am,” the crusty 84 year-old “lion of the Senate” shot back.
Cross-examination of the senator continues Monday. Closing arguments are expected on Tuesday.
Washington Post story here.
Expecting a long day of testimony from a single witness and the playing of wiretap tapes, we were taken by surprise when Sen. Stevens’ attorney, Brendan Sullivan, launched into a theatrical explosion of outrage and indignation. He had reason: the government had not, until the late the previous night, turned over a portion of FBI interview notes where Bill Allen says that had he billed him for the improvements to his home Ted Stevens would have paid.
An argument between Brendan Sullivan and prosecutor Brenda Morris quickly escalated. “He called me out, Judge,” Ms. Morris protested “I hear a lot of noise coming from Mr. Sullivan.”
Judge Emmet Sullivan turned down the defense’s calls for dismissal or mistrial. The trial resumes on Monday.
Washington Post story here.
Bill Allen, the government’s star witness in its case against Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, described “boot camp” trips with the senator to resorts where they would hike and lose weight : “No hard liquor,” he said. “Just some wine.”
Allen’s testimony resumes today, and the government has indicated that they may wrap up their case as soon as Thursday.
NYT story here.
The trial of Ted Stevens began today as the Senator stood and faced a pool of 184 potential jurors. Opening arguments may begin as early as Wednesday, and a verdict is expected before the November elections.
The Anchorage Daily News story is here.
I’m often asked how many sketches I do, and the answer is always ‘that depends’. It depends on how much time I have, and whether we’re talking about finished drawings or rough sketches.
At the sentencing of Jack Abramoff this week I produced two finished drawings: the obligatory, and time consuming, wide-shot, and a tight head-shot. I might have completed more, but Nightly News dropped the story and MSNBC was only interested in the Republican Convention and the looming hurricanes.
But during the two hour hearing, which ended in the late afternoon right up against deadline, I was also working on other sketches which could have been finished if needed.
This one shows Abramoff’s lawyer Abbe Lowell arguing for his client.
This is a sketch of a member of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe delivering a victim impact statement.
Here prosecutor Mary Butler addresses the court while Abramoff looks on.
Abbe Lowell pleads for leniency in the sentencing of his client.
And, finally, the beginning of another head-shot should I need it.
If you want to read about what actually happened in the courtroom Matt Apuzzo’s story is here.
Posted in Congress
Tagged with: Abramoff
Sen. Ted Stevens was presumably campaigning in Alaska Wednesday while his lawyer, Brendan Sullivan was in a courtroom In Washington trying to persuade Judge Emmet Sullivan to move the Senator’s trial to his home state so that he could campaign nights and weekends. The Judge denied the request.
The story in the Anchorage Daily News is here.
And in local news: Erik Collins got the maximum sentence the judge could give him in an attempted murder for hire. Collins had tried on two occasions to arrange the murder of his on again off again boyfriend after taking out insurance policies on him. To make it all a little more miserable he was previously convicted of manslaughter of another lover.
NBC4 story here.
Congressman William Jefferson took the stand yesterday and testified about the manner with which FBI agents interviewed him and searched his home early one morning in 2005 while his wife and daughter slept. He described a trip to the bathroom accompanied by an agent, “I said are you going to watch me pee and he said ‘yes.’” Referring to the $100,000. cash that Jefferson received from a government informant, $90,000. of which was later recovered from the freezer in his Capitol Hill home, he said an FBI agent yelled at him “where’s my goddam money?”
Times-Picayune story here.
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Tagged with: Congress