Stevens Trial “Fast But Fair”…Must Mean It’s Going to D.C.

7 08 2008

                        Today U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan, who is overseeing the Ted Stevens case said “It’s going to be fair. Let me emphasize that. Iit’s going to be fast, but it’s going to be fair.”  My take on that?  OK, Ted…you’ll get your special fast-track September 24th trial date, but ain’t no way it’s moving to Alaska.

Despite the fact that there is really no possibility of a fair trial in Alaska, I feel a little pang.  What a crazy circus THAT would be!  Popcorn worthy for sure.  But I think we’ll have to settle for observing from afar.

And here’s the Stevens quote of the week from the Ketchikan Daily News:

“This is an indictment for failure to disclose gifts that are controversial in terms of whether they were or were not gifts. It’s not bribery; it’s not some corruption; it’s not some extreme felony.”

“Not some extreme felony”?  So…it’s just a little teensy-weensy felony?  An itty-bitty felony.  No biggie.  We can just overlook it because after all, look what he’s done for the state, he’s a World War II vet, he’s dedicated his life to serving the people, he’s really old, he’s given us the airport…we’ve heard it all before.

And besides, just because someone gives you something for free that’s worth $250,000 that you really want, doesn’t necessarily make it a ‘gift’.  It could be….er….a coincidence, or a present  ummm….spontaneous good deed?

Watching the thought pattern of the parade of indicted Alaskan Republicans is really amazing.  Who knew there were so many different brands of denial?

Meanwhile, back in the real world, federal prosecutors turned over to Stevens’ attorneys a big fat pile of materials including both video footage, and audio recordings from someone who agreed to wear a wire.  This oughta get really interesting really soon.

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Stevens Indicted! No…the other one!

29 07 2008

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.”





Vic Kohring Wins Free “Vacation”!

30 06 2008

Well, it’s another red letter day on the Corrupt Bastards Calendar. Vic Kohring is headed to The Grey Bar Hotel in Sunny California. After his last desperate attempt to keep from going to prison last week, I had expected today to arrive with lots of kicking and screaming for the former Wasilla representative. Not so.

In what can only be described as a bizarre display of….bizarreness, Mr. Kohring stood beside the Glenn Highway this morning eating cookies, and waving to passers-by under a huge sign with his name on it, and the giant orange spray painted addendum “THANKS ALASKA”. No word yet on whether he’s caused any accidents.

Saying that he isn’t afraid of prison, he added “It’s almost like going away on vacation. A Government sponsored vacation.”

Kohring begins his prison term the same way he got himself in trouble in the first place…begging for money. Stating that he couldn’t afford the flight to Taft, the private prison in California he’ll be calling home for the next three and a half years, marshals will escort Kohring to Taft after he surrenders here in Anchorage on Monday. So, you and I are footing even more of the bill for Vic’s “Government sponsored vacation”. Maybe that’s why the sign said ‘THANK YOU’ instead of ‘I’M SORRY’?

You can enjoy the whole story from Kyle Hopkins at the ADN website.