(CNN) - Aviation gave and aviation took away throughout Ted Stevens' adult life.
The former U.S. senator, who died with several other people aboard a plane that crashed Monday night near Dillingham, Alaska, was a decorated Army Air Corps pilot during World War II, and the international airport in Anchorage, Alaska, was renamed in his honor in 2000.
Stevens survived the crash of a Learjet at that airport in 1978, but his first wife, Ann, and four other people perished. He remarried in 1980.
Often re-elected to the Senate with a share of the vote approaching 80 percent, Stevens served 40 years and 10 days and was the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history. (Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was a Democrat for part of his 47-year tenure.)
(CNN) - The family of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens offered its prayers to those on the plane that crashed in Alaska, the senator's former chief of staff said Tuesday, amid reports that Stevens was on the plane.
The chief of staff said he could not confirm that Stevens was a passenger on the plane.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The man who oversaw the flawed prosecution of corruption charges against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska will leave his post at the Justice Department at the end of this week, a top official there announced Wednesday.
William Welch - who heads the Office of Public Integrity, which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting bribery and other public corruption cases - will leave Washington and become a federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.
A federal judge harshly criticized the trial prosecutors for, among other things, failing to share certain evidence with the defense as required.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – One day after a federal judge erased the verdict against former Senator Ted Stevens, and criticized the Justice Department's internal ethics office, Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday announced a new head of that office.
Aides to Holder said the change at the helm of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and other announced personnel changes have nothing to do with the Office's internal investigation into the mishandling of the Stevens case.
"It is absolutely not related," said Matthew Miller, the top spokesman for Holder.
OPR, as it is known in Washington, is responsible for investigating allegations of impropriety and misconduct by Justice Department attorneys, and recommending disciplinary action.
(CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Tuesday is weighing in on the news a federal judge has dismissed the conviction of former Sen. Ted Stevens, saying there is "no way he can just 'put this behind him.'"
"I know the agony the senator has felt, and nothing can change what he has gone through or the loss of his Senate seat, which meant the world to him and virtually as much to Alaska," she said in a statement Tuesday. "There's no way he can just 'put this behind him' as some have suggested he should. Senator Stevens is a resilient man and I hope that he will continue to make a contribution to Alaska and the nation."
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan set aside Stevens' federal conviction for failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of "freebies" from an oilfield services company on Senate ethics forms.
The judge also initiated criminal contempt proceedings against the government lawyers who prosecuted the 85-year-old Alaska Republican.
Stevens maintained his innocence throughout a government probe. Palin, then the GOP vice presidential candidate, called on Stevens to resign his post last fall after he was found guilty.
Soon after the convictions, Stevens lost his bid for re-election to Democratic challenger Mark Begich, then mayor of Anchorage.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A federal judge ordered the conviction of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens set aside Tuesday.
He also initiated criminal contempt proceedings against the government lawyers who prosecuted Stevens. He appointed an independent, non-government attorney to investigate the matter.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Now that the corruption case against former Sen. Ted Stevens has been dropped, Alaska Rep. Don Young wants Stevens to run for governor - a move that would set up a Republican primary between the veteran lawmaker and Sarah Palin, if she decides to seek a second term in 2010.
"Personally I'd like to see him run for governor, and that's my personal feeling," Young told the Alaska Public Radio Network on Thursday. "So, we'll see what happens down the line. He probably won't, but I think that would be a great way to cap off a great career as being the governor of the state of Alaska."
Stevens will be 87 years old by the time the next governor takes office in January 2011.
Other top Alaska Republicans, including Palin and Alaska GOP chairman Randy Ruedrich, said Thursday that Democratic Sen. Mark Begich should step aside so a new vote can be held now that the charges against Stevens have been dropped by the Justice Department.
Young dismissed those demands, calling them "a lot of noise."
"Sen. Begich, in all due respect, won the race," he said. "There is no other recourse. He has taken office, he is now the new senator."
Young and Palin aren't exactly political pals. Palin endorsed a Republican primary challenger against Young in 2008, and during her vice presidential campaign the Alaska governor refused to publicly back Young's re-election bid while federal investigators looked into his dealings with an oil company.
(CNN) – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Thursday she believes voters deserve another chance to consider electing Ted Stevens to the U.S. Senate now that federal prosecutors have decided to drop their case against him, and supports a re-match between the former senator and Democrat Mark Begich.
Begich defeated Stevens last November soon after the incumbent was convicted on ethics charges.
"Many voters did not choose Stevens because they were told he was guilty, and now, after the election we see there was improper conduct in his trial, so how fair an election was that?" asked Palin, in an email to an Alaska Public Radio reporter. CNN has confirmed the authenticity of the e-mail.
"I agree with other Alaskans who would like to see an election that's free from improper influence, and I can't imagine how Mark Begich could argue that," she continued.
(updated after the jump with Begich camp response)
(CNN) - The Alaska Republican Party is calling on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich to resign his first-term post as senator, one day after Attorney General Eric Holder cleared former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens of felony charges Wednesday.
"The Alaska Republican Party...believes that current Senator Mark Begich should resign his position to allow for a new, special election, so Alaskans may have the chance to vote for a senator without the improper influence of the corrupt Department of Justice," the Alaska Republican Party's Web site states.
Stevens lost his bid for a seventh Senate term against Begich in November following a conviction of seven counts of lying on Senate ethics reforms.
(Updated after the jump with Begich reaction)
(CNN) - Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said Wednesday his friend and former colleague Ted Stevens was "screwed" by the United States Justice Department, hours after Attorney General Eric Holder announced he was dropping all charges against the former Alaska senator.
"Here's a guy who gave better than 60 years service to the country and was screwed," Hatch told reporters on Capitol Hill. "Screwed by our own Justice Department."
Hatch went on to praise Holder for dropping the charges and "fixing this foul situation."
"I am really impressed with the attorney general for standing up and fixing this foul situation. Ted Stevens had a good answer for every accusation they threw at him.
"I have every confidence in the attorney general. I think he's more than shown integrity and decency in this matter and it's not an easy thing for him to do that," Hatch said. "He has, in looking at it, realized now what people like myself have been saying is 100 percent right."
Prosecutors accused Stevens of failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of "freebies" from an oilfield services company on Senate ethics forms. But in December, an unnamed FBI whistle-blower accused prosecutors of withholding evidence from the defense. On Wednesday, and the Justice Department asked a judge to dismiss the charges against Stevens.
Stevens, 85, lost his bid for a seventh full term in November after his conviction on seven counts of lying on Senate ethics forms. Stevens' lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, said the Justice Department was forced to request the dismissal because of "extraordinary evidence of government corruption."
– CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report