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What’s a gift?

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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?
Stevens: Yes.
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
us.

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.

“My bottom wasn’t bare, ma’am,”

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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.

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Cross-examination of the senator continues Monday. Closing arguments are expected on Tuesday.

Washington Post story here.

Fireworks at Stevens Trial

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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.

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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.

Sen. Stevens’ Boot Camp Buddy

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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.”

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Allen’s testimony resumes today, and the government has indicated that they may wrap up their case as soon as Thursday.

NYT story here.

 

Jury Selection

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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.