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.
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.
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.
Twelve people in California should have said this to O.J. Simpson thirteen years ago, but twelve Nevadans got around to it eventually today. What a Nevada jury finally said boiled down to one word: “guilty.” An added bonus: they also got around to saying it eleven additional times immediately afterward. (Via Captain Ed.)
Fox livecast the verdict:
O.J. was immediately hustled back off to jail, pending sentencing on December 5. He faces a sentence as stiff as life in prison (long odds on it, but hope springs eternal). O.J.’s media agnomen of the last thirteen years, “celebrity in exile,” is about to take on a whole new meaning.
(No word on reaction to the guilty verdict from the families of Ron Goldman or Nicole Brown. Goldman’s father Fred said before the verdict that he’d been following the trial “only generally,” though he did add, “At the absolute least, I’d like to see him in jail.”)
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.
Heaven forfend Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) should be the face of the Congressional Indicted Caucus all by himself. No longer. It’s official: Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), currently facing trial for bribery and 15 other corruption-related charges, will be on the ballot for a tenth term as congressman for Louisiana’s 2nd District.
Jefferson was under suspicion (though not indictment) two years ago when he won another term due in large part to a great number of Katrina-displaced voters not participating. Now freshly indicted, his status in Congress greatly diminished, and suffering bad publicity from family members also under indictment, many are doubting he can pull off another miracle.
U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), awaiting trial on corruption charges, has asked a federal judge if it’s OK if he skips out on the proceedings from time to time this week.
His reason? He says that the trial, in which a jury will decide whether he lied about $250,000 in home construction and other gifts courtesy of an oil company, makes it difficult for him to be a good Senator.
The gobsmacking details, and how it might reflect on Sarah Palin, below the break.