Tag Archives: ted stevens

Alaska: Race is over

The prince has been dethroned. The long recount in Alaska is almost over, and not enough ballots remain to give convicted incumbent Senator Ted Stevens a chance of overtaking Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Next stop: prison. So long, Citizen Stevens; I recommend the bologna sandwich with mac-‘n’-cheese. (More here, here, and here.)

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-NC) had already written up a resolution of expulsion from the GOP conference just in case Stevens managed to stage a comeback, but DeMint was persuaded to hold off until the election results were certain. Now the expulsion plan has been shelved, as Alaskan voters have done the job Senate Republicans should have done months ago.

Total Senate seats in Democratic hands in the coming Congress: 58. Number of Senate races with results yet to be determined: two (MN and GA). Chances of a filibuster-proof Democratic majority: long, but still within reach, at least in terms of party. Republicans may be virtually incapable of mounting a filibuster in a practical sense anyway, given their demonstrated aversion to anything resembling a sense of unity.

Senator Palin? Doubtful. But what if…

Covert Zero brings up “an interesting point” (before throwing me a link…thanks!) from former defense analyst Chuck Spinney (H/T James Fallows):

“How much do you want to bet the Sarah Palin won’t replace Ted Stevens after being induced to run in a special election by “popular demand”?

Could happen, but that’s not a bet I’d take.

Explanation, and lots more wonkery with an even wilder scenario, below the break.

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Kiss Alaska goodbye. Thank Ted Stevens.

Newly convicted Sen. Ted Stevens is digging in his heels, and this blogger sees no sign of any intent to resign, before or after the election. The man honestly thinks he won’t spend day one in jail; I don’t think he’s capable of envisioning a Senate without him.

National Republicans are abandoning him, the state party is clinging to him, his fellow senators (of both parties) are talking openly about expelling him, and local political experts are still saying he might eke out one final re-election victory.

News developments, analysis, and more wonkery below the break.

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Welcome to the bighouse, Ted. Now what?

The Congressional Indicted Caucus officially has one fewer member. Senator Ted Stevens has been convicted on all counts. To quote a certain played-out, over-the-hill cartoonist: “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” (More here, here, here, and here.) For his part, Stevens has announced he will appeal, maintaining his innocence and lacerating the prosecutors for what I admit was some pretty messed-up lawyering.

I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see Sen. Stevens go, which will come as no surprise to WitSnapper readers (who may have read my thoughts on the man here, here, here, here, and elsewhere). His Senate seat will likely go to his Democratic opponent, Anchorage mayor Mark Begich, now effectively running unopposed. Republicans now are scrambling to assess their very limited options.

Bunches of scenario-weaving below the break.

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Stevens trial: It’s all over but the sequestering

Testimony ended Monday as the defense rested its case in Sen. Ted Stevens’s corruption trial, apparently back on track after a major snafu by prosecutors led a judge to threaten a mistrial three weeks ago.

Closing arguments were delivered after Sen. Stevens himself was cross-examined, by what must have been a very exasperated prosecutor.  The Los Angeles Times describes a very cagey senator who, though expensive items were left at his house by their owners and never retrieved, somehow didn’t count as “gifts:”

Public integrity attorney Brenda Morris repeatedly challenged Stevens on the witness stand Monday, saying his explanation that the items in question were not gifts, even though they remained at his homes, was not plausible.   

Morris asked Stevens about a $2,700 Brookstone massage chair delivered to his home in Washington in 2001. Stevens has taken the position that the chair was a loan from a friend. But he acknowledged on cross-examination that it remains in his home to this day.

“How is that not a gift?” Morris asked.

“We have lots of things in our house that don’t belong to us, ma’am,” Stevens replied.

I’ll bet you do, Senator.  It’s going to be tough to convince a jury, I think, that you were never billed for any of them.

Stevens is accused of accepting over $200,000 in gifts, including home renovations, furniture, and sculpture, and failing to report it to Congress’s ethics office as required by federal law.

Could Ted Stevens skate?

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) may just have caught a break from overzealous prosecutors in his trial on corruption-related charges, according to the Los Angeles Times. (Link via Don Surber.)

According to the story, lawyers for the prosecution neglected to disclose testimony possibly helpful to the defense in a timely manner:

The government previously turned over a redacted version of the FBI interview with [Alaska oilman and star witness Bill J.] Allen to defense lawyers but conceded today they had erred and that portions of the summary should not have been excised. They turned over the new evidence after discovering the oversight Wednesday night.

Defense lawyer Brendan V. Sullivan said the omitted material included statements in which Allen contradicts himself on the question of whether he believed Stevens would have paid for the home improvements if he had been billed.

The prosecution is…ahem…meeting with difficulty in convincing the “visibly angry” judge, let alone defense counsel, that this was an accident.  Presiding judge Emmet Sullivan is hinting that he is considering a mistrial:

“I am going to bring the jury in and let them know we are not going to proceed today,” he added later in the morning. “Maybe they will come back for further service . . . and maybe they won’t.”

Buzz says the judge is demanding a good reason from prosecutors not to throw the case out.  If the People blow this case, they have no more business working for the government than Stevens has.

Where villainy and thugs prevail, there Ted is ever found

I tell you, it seems no matter how bad the Democrats get in terms of campaign thuggery, Republican Senator Ted Stevens never seems to have any trouble helping the GOP keep up with the Joneses.  Yea, verily, a bloated paragon of venality and shady-eyed depravity!

From the Wall Street Journal, via Instapundit, more cease-and-desist abuse, this time in Alaska:

In Alaska earlier this month, radio ads hit the airwaves trumpeting the allegation that Sen. Ted Stevens received a sweetheart trade-in deal on a new Land Rover. An Alaska law firm representing the Republican senator quickly fired off letters to stations around the state demanding they stop running an ad it said was “factually incorrect and a gross distortion of the real facts.”…

While some stations buckle under the pressure and drop the ads, most refuse. “I think candidates want us to become the censors,” says Mike Burgess, general manager of KOB, the NBC affiliate in Albuquerque. “I don’t think that’s our job.” The station has already received a handful of letters requesting ad takedowns this political season.

The article also says:

While no one tracks the number of legal notices broadcasters receive on political ads, station managers and lawyers say attempts to block ads are growing both in number and intensity, particularly in states with closely contested elections.

I’d like someone to start clocking and documenting this trend.  If nothing else, when officeholders finally face the prospect of a track record of state-sanctioned harassment of TV and radio stations, it may make them think twice about abusing the legal system to harass legitimate broadcasters (or at least limit their itchy C&D-letter fingers to complaints that actually have legs).

As for Senator Stevens (hopefully soon to be Citizen Stevens, then Inmate Stevens)…enjoy prison, Senator.  You won’t be missed.