Speculation was running rampant about who the next to fall would be in the ongoing corruption investigations by the FBI here in Alaska. The general consensus was that it would be Ben Stevens, son of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, and former State Senate President.
I almost ran off the road when I heard the announcement on CNN. Ted Stevens has been indicted. This is HUGE.
The Justice Department will shortly be announcing the 7 count indictment all dealing with statements that were not deemed truthful to investigators. The announcement will come at 1:20pm EST….that’s in just a few minutes. Stay tuned for updates!
UPDATE 1: The Anchorage Daily News has posted a pdf copy of the 28-page indictment is available HERE. Stevens was charged with 7 felony counts of making false statements. Stevens apparently didn’t admit on his senate financial disclosure forms to receiving gifts totaling upwards of $250,000 (including a new Land Rover, a Viking barbecue grill, and extensive renovations to his home) from Veco. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the raid of his Girdwood residence, referred to in the indictment as ‘the chalet’.
UPDATE 2: Just listened to a live press conference held in DC by the Department of Justice. Here’s the gist.
As a member of the Senate Stevens was required to file financial disclosure forms with the Secretary of the Senate. The purpose of these forms is to disclose conflicts of interest and maintain public confidence in the US senate. Stevens is alleged to have received “substantial amounts of material and labor” used to renovate his residence in Girdwood from Veco Corp. This included: First floor multiple bedrooms & bathroom & full basement, architectural design, assistance in lifting the residence to add a first floor, electrical, plumbing and framing, the addition of a wrap around deck, a plastic roof, heat tape system on the roof, gutter repair, and electrical work. In addition were household goods – furniture, a gas range, and a tool storage cabinet. Also mentioned was exchanging an old vehicle for a new one worth much more. The total amount is $250,000+ These items were not disclosed on forms which he filed under penalty of purgery. He didn’t reimburse or repay Veco or Bill Allen for any of these items. This is only the beginning of the criminal process, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The investigation began in 2004 and covers the years 1999-2006. 7 convictions – Kott, Allen, Smith, Bobrick, Anderson, Kohring
From the Q&A with the press:
He has not been charged with bribery. Bribery requires specific evidence of quid pro quo.
A summons will be issued and he will be allowed to turn himself in, and will not be arrested. Where and when this will happen is being negotiated.
Stevens was informed when his attorney received a call earlier today.
They wouldn’t talk about sentencing or how Stevens’ age might affect that, nor would they discuss a potential plea agreement.
The final question asked about the timing of the indictment, during an election year, and close to the primary. The answer? “We bring cases based on our evaluations of the law and when they are ready.” “Politics should play no part either in charges or the timing of indictments. Policy has been followed to the letter.”