Thursday, July 31, 2008

Indicted Alaska Senator Ted Stevens Pleads Not Guilty, Requests Change Of Venue To Alaska; September 24th Trial Date Set

Click HERE for all posts about the Ted Stevens indictment. The most recent post will appear first.

As expected, Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens pleaded not guilty to all charges at his initial hearing in Washington D.C. on July 31st, 2008. In addition, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan set a trial date of September 24th, and agreed to consider Stevens' request to shift the trial to Alaska, setting a change-of-venue hearing for August 19th. National coverage by CNN and the Washington Post. Alaska coverage by the Anchorage Daily News, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, and KTUU Channel 2. The weekly Anchorage Press also posts an interesting "what-if" article about what might happen if "Ted cries Uncle".

Stevens was not required to post bond, only to surrender his passport.

Senator Stevens' attorney Brendan Sullivan stated that Stevens wants to clear his name before the November election. "This is not a complex case. It should be one that moves quickly", Sullivan told the judge.

Prosecutors said they would be quick to turn over discovery materials in the case. Those materials include video, audio tapes, and "consensual monitoring". Prosecutors said as soon as Stevens' lawyers could give them a 500-gigabyte hard drive, they would copy those materials.

Stevens faces seven counts of failing to disclose that he accepted more than $250,000 in gifts from former Veco Corp. chief Bill Allen. Most of the allegations concern remodeling to Stevens' home in Girdwood. Specifically, he is charged with making false statements about "things of value" he received during the past eight years from Veco, a now-defunct Anchorage-based oil services and construction company, and from its chairman, Bill Allen. Stevens is accused of receiving substantial benefits from his relationship with Veco that he never disclosed, including improvements to his home in Girdwood, household appliances and an automobile exchange in which he received a new Land Rover worth far more than his 35-year-old Mustang. [Ed. Note: Dan Fagan pointed out in a previous KFQD broadcast that this "35-year-old" Mustang had been fully restored and is considered a "classic", which would increase its value. Thus, the trade is much more equitable than insinuated by the mainstream media.]

Click HERE to view the 28-page indictment in PDF format.

Earlier in the week, Senator Stevens proclaimed his innocence. He stated that he "never knowingly submitted a false disclosure form required by law as a U.S. senator." He has said in the past that he paid every bill that was given to him for the house work. [Ed. Note: This presumes that Ted Stevens received all the bills, and that he was billed accurately. It would be difficult to hold Stevens accountable for inaccurate or incomplete billing.]

KTUU video embedded below:

Meanwhile, on the same day, Rasmussen released the results of a telephone survey of 500 likely voters taken on July 30th, which shows the indictment has had a deleterious effect on Ted Stevens' re-election chances.

While 50 percent of respondents still regard Stevens favorably and don't want him to resign, a prospective head-to-head matchup against Democrat Mark Begich shows Stevens trailing Begich by thirteen points, 50 percent to 37 percent. Just two weeks earlier, Begich had taken his first significant lead after the race had been a toss-up for months. But Stevens' difficulties have yet to bleed over into the McCain campaign. Despite Stevens’ indictment, John McCain continues to hold a narrow lead over Barack Obama in the state. McCain further distanced himself from Stevens today by donating $5,000 of money from Stevens' PAC to the Flight 93 fund, joining at least seven other Republican senators in donating Stevens' money to charity.

However, the Rasmussen poll does reveal one surprise. Ted Stevens' leading Republican challenger is already much more viable than we thought. In a head-to-head matchup between Begich and Dave Cuddy, Cuddy trails Begich 50 percent to 35 percent. This is only two points worse than Stevens. This means that Dave Cuddy would have a realistic shot at defeating Mark Begich in November.

Rasmussen also measured a prospective head-to-head matchup between Mark Begich and another Republican aspirant, Florida carpetbagger Vic Vickers. But the numbers show that Begich would utterly clobber Vickers 55 percent to 22 percent. In addition, Vickers has much stronger negatives than Cuddy; Vickers has alienated many Alaskans by virtue of the fact that he just established official state residency in January 2008, that he is a one-trick pony, viciously bashing Ted Stevens, and his overbearing, obnoxious, and sanctimonious attitude. Vickers has gotten completely unjustified media attention simply because he pledged to spend $750,000 in advertising between now and the August 26th Alaska Republican primary.

Despite his advancing age and lengthy service, Ted Stevens is determined to fight these charges, and the charges themselves do seem a bit anecdotal. He deserves his day in court. But Dave Cuddy is establishing himself as a solid Republican alternative to Stevens, should Stevens decide to give it up.

1 comment:

  1. Our site has taken a somewhat more sympathetic view of the good Senator, regarding his troubles as symptomatic of the party as a whole. Thanks for adding your voice.