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Turkey in the Straw

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In the late seventies, during one of those end of the term marathon sessions of congress, then majority leader Senator Byrd invited members of the press to his office for an early morning briefing at the conclusion of which the Senator, wearing a bright red vest, picked up his fiddle and bowed a hot “Turkey in the Straw”.  I wish I could find that sketch.

The above sketch shows Senator Byrd during the Clinton Senate Impeachment trial in 1999.

RIP Senator Byrd

Sen. Stevens’ Reversal of Fortune

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In a stunning about-face prosecutors in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens found themselves subject to criminal contempt proceedings.  As he dismissed the indictment against the former Alaska senator, an outraged Judge Emmett Sullivan appointed a non-government lawyer, Janis, Schuelke & Wechsler partner Henry Schuelke III, to prosecute the prosecutors.
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Nightly News aired the story with sketches, but as usual some of the better drawings are never used. Here’s one of Stevens’ defense attorney Brendan Sullivan addressing the Judge at yesterday’s hearing. Ted Stevens is lightly sketched in the left background.

WaPo story here.

Stevens Prosecutors in Contempt of Court

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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.

The Verdict

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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.
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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.

 

Closing Arguments

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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.
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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
months?”
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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.