We’ve heard about massage chairs, sled dog puppies, and giant black furniture. We’ve heard from contractors, and former best friends, and Mrs. Stevens. We’ve been regaled with stories of male-bonding and wine drinking for weight loss in the desert Southwest. I refer, of course, to the Ted Stevens trial. All in all the trial has been very….Alaskan. Stevens faces seven felony counts of failure to disclose gifts on his Senate Financial Disclosure Forms.
Today is the day closing arguments begin, and the prosecution is presenting its case right now. By tomorrow, the jury deliberations will have started.
WASHINGTON – As prosecutors made their final argument Tuesday to jurors in Sen. Ted Stevens’ corruption case, they replayed a now-infamous recording of the senator, who told a close friend that the worst that could ever happen to him as a result of a federal investigation would be a little jail time, or perhaps excessive legal bills.
“Does that sound like someone who really believes he didn’t do something wrong?” asked prosecutor Joseph Bottini, an assistant U.S. Attorney from Anchorage who delivered closing arguments for the Justice Department this morning.
Some of those things Stevens was given were smaller than others, Bottini acknowledged, such as a stained glass window and a generator. But none of those items were ever disclosed as gifts on his financial disclosure forms, Bottini said.
And “how he treats these smaller items speaks volumes about how he intended to treat the bigger ticket items, like the home remodel,” Bottini said.
His attitude was clear when he tried to figure out how to disclose the value of a sled dog his friends bought him at a charity auction, Bottini said. Stevens, in asking about the dog, wrote an e-mail describing the disclosure requirements as a “GD” disclosure form.
“He calls it his, pardon me, his “God Damn” disclosure form,” Bottini said. “That pretty much sums up his attitude. He’s not above the law and he can’t evade it simply because he doesn’t like it.”
Alaskans are sitting on the edge of their seats. The one furthest on the edge? Other than Ted himself, it’s probably Anchorage Mayor, and Stevens’ Democratic rival for the senate seat, Mark Begich. An acquittal for Stevens makes his job a lot more daunting.