The week before last – time flies, I’ve been busy – I went on the road to cover two hearings a few hundred miles apart though in some ways alike. Both defendants were at one time coaches, and both are suspected of sexual relations with young boys.
In Chicago former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty to a felony charge of concealing large withdrawals of cash. By doing so he avoided a trial and possible testimony from the victim he was paying off.
The next day, in Bellefonte, PA, former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky appeared in court as his lawyer sought to challenge the grand jury investigation that led to the charges of child sexual abuse of which Sandusky was convicted in 2012.
Hip-Hop tweeting Tea-Party Republican congressman Trey Radel (third from right) pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in DC Superior Court this morning and was given a suspended sentence and one year probation. He is on the record, having voted in the House, in support of drug testing food stamp recipients.
You can read about it here.
Jesse Jackson Jr plucked tissue after tissue from a box on the lectern as he wiped away tears while addressing the court at his sentencing yesterday.
Jackson’s wife Sandra was also sentenced for her part in the theft of $750,000. in campaign funds.
Judge Amy B. Jackson sentenced Jesse to 30 months, and Sandra got 12. They’ll be allowed to serve their prison terms consecutively so that their children have a parent at home.
Former congressman William Jefferson stood with his attorney, Robert Trout, his clasped hands resting on the lectern, as Judge Ellis sentenced him to 13 years in prison. Jefferson, 62, infamous for the $90,000. in cold cash found in his freezer made no statement.
WaPo story here.
An angry Judge Emmett Sullivan yesterday ruled that government lawyers in the prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens were in contempt of court for failing to produce documents relating to witness tampering and willfully concealing evidence.
NYT article here.
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.