Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Verdict Watch -Sen Stevens (R-AK)

Following closing arguments, yesterday, Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) gets his wish, a verdict by elections day.
Stevens, 84, has been fighting a seven-count indictment accusing him of filing false statements on mandatory financial disclosure forms. The jury is scheduled to begin deliberating Wednesday.

In closing arguments, prosecutors said Stevens engaged in an elaborate scheme to accept thousands of dollars in gifts from Alaskan oil industry executive Bill Allen, who has admitted he tried to bribe state legislators, including the senator's son.

Stevens is not accused of bribery, but one prosecutor suggested he accepted gifts, concealed them from the public, and "took care of Bill" -- referring to Allen, the founder of oil services contractor Veco Corp.

The trial has revolved around a construction project at the Stevens family chalet in Girdwood, Alaska, about 40 miles from Anchorage at the foot of a ski resort. Allen, starting in 2000, helped organize labor, materials and subcontractors that doubled the size of the home.

In his closing arguments, defense attorney Brendan Sullivan said the government failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the jury should acquit Stevens on all counts.

He noted Allen had testified that Stevens would have paid whatever bills were sent, but that he decided not to tell Stevens the full cost "because I like Ted."
I am leaning acquittal only because of the burden required under our system of jurisprudence. But there are 12 jurors who may have a different take. Should the verdict be quick, this post will be updated accordingly.


UPDATE: No verdict today:
With Sen. Ted Stevens' fate and possibly the outcome of his re-election race hanging in the balance, jurors in his corruption trial declared themselves stressed out after a few hours' deliberations Wednesday and went home early.

Four hours after U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan declared, "the case is yours," the eight women and four men passed the judge a note.

Things had become "kind of stressful," jurors said, and they asked to go home for some "clarity." They left without reaching a verdict.

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