(CNN) - In the wake of news the Justice Department had decided to drop the case against Ted Stevens, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday the former senator had been the victim of a "frightening" attempt to undermine the political process.
"Senator Stevens deserves to be very happy today. What a horrible thing he has endured," she said, in a statement released by her office. "The blatant attempts by adversaries to destroy one's reputation, career and finances are an abuse of our well-guarded process and violate our God-given rights afforded in the Constitution. It is a frightening thing to contemplate what we may be witnessing here - the undermining of the political process through unscrupulous ploys and professional misconduct.
"Senator Stevens and I had lunch together recently at my home and he reiterated the faith he held for vindication; he never gave up hope. It is unfortunate that, as a result of the questionable proceedings which led to Senator Stevens' conviction days before the election, Alaskans lost an esteemed statesman on Capitol Hill. His presence is missed."
The former Republican vice presidential candidate struck a different note in the closing days of the campaign, following Stevens' conviction on corruption charges.
"After being found guilty on seven felony counts, I had hoped Senator Stevens would take the opportunity to do the statesman-like thing and erase the cloud that is covering his Senate seat," she said in a statement in October. "He has not done so. Alaskans are grateful for his decades of public service but the time has come for him to step aside. Even if elected on Tuesday, Senator Stevens should step aside to allow a special election to give Alaskans a real choice of who will serve them in Congress."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A federal judge Wednesday scheduled a hearing on a request by prosecutors to dismiss the indictment against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who was convicted of corruption in October.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan set the hearing for April 7.
Shortly after the announcement, Stevens expressed gratitude for the prosecutors' decision.
"I am grateful that the new team of responsible prosecutors at the Department of Justice has acknowledged that I did not receive a fair trial, and has dismissed all the charges against me," he said in a written statement.
"I am also grateful that Judge Emmet G. Sullivan made rulings that facilitated the exposure of the government's misconduct during the last two years. I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed. That day has finally come.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Justice Department asked a federal court Wednesday to "set aside the verdict and dismiss the indictment" in the corruption case against former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, court documents show.
Stevens, 85, was convicted in October on seven counts of lying on mandatory financial disclosure forms.
Stevens hid "hundreds of thousands of dollars of freebies" he received from an oil field services company and its CEO, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Matthew Friedrich said.
Many of the alleged free services were given as part of a renovation of Stevens' Alaska home.
Stevens maintained his innocence even after the conviction, and his sentencing has been delayed amid charges by an FBI agent of prosecutorial misconduct.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, a fixture in the U.S. Senate for nearly 40 years, gave a brief farewell to fellow senators Thursday, adding that he is confident he can "remove the cloud that currently surrounds me."
Stevens, who turned 85 Tuesday, was convicted in October of seven felony charges for filing false statements over several years on his Senate financial disclosure forms. Prosecutors said Stevens hid hundreds of thousands of dollars in "freebies" from an oil-field services company in his home state.
Stevens maintained his innocence even after the conviction. At a debate days before the November 4 general election, he said he had "not been convicted of anything."
It's not clear if the outcome of his trial influenced voters, who gave Stevens 47 percent of their ballots and 48 percent to his Democratic rival for the seat, Mark Begich. Begich currently serves as the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is congratulating Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich on winning his Senate race against veteran lawmaker Ted Stevens.
“I extend my congratulations to Mark Begich and his family,” Palin said in a statement released by her office Wednesday. “This is a new era for Alaska and I look forward to working with Mark on the many issues that are important to our state. I am confident he will add a compelling new voice to the U.S. Senate.”
"I also thank Senator Ted Stevens for his 40 years of dedicated service to Alaska,” the statement said. “His tireless efforts on behalf of the state he loves have benefited all those who call it home. Todd and I join all Alaskans in gratitude to Sen. Stevens."
Palin wasn’t always so effusive toward Stevens, the longest serving Republican in the Senate. During her vice presidential bid, after Stevens was indicted on seven felony counts, she would not say whether she planned to vote for the senator in his re-election bid.
In October, after Stevens was found guilty of making false statements on his financial disclosure reports, Palin initially said it was “a sad day” for Alaska but did not call for the senator to step down. The next day, in a television appearance with John McCain, Palin went a step further and said Stevens should indeed resign.
On Election Day in her hometown of Wasilla, Palin refused to say if she voted for Stevens.
“I am also exercising my right to privacy, and I don't have to tell anybody who I vote for, nobody does, and that’s really cool about America also,” she told a reporter.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Ted Stevens turned 85-years-old Tuesday, but his slice of birthday cake was served with a side of bitter. The one-time powerful lawmaker lost re-election to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.
He now heads home to Alaska, and quite possibly prison. Stevens was convicted last month on seven federal corruption charges for filing false statements on his Senate ethics forms.
It has been a hard fall for the one time chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Stevens was once one of the most influential lawmakers on Capitol Hill, if not in the nation’s capital. As oil poured south from the Alaska pipeline – “Uncle Ted” as he is affectionately known in his adopted home state – made sure federal dollars flowed north. His diligence in sending what some critics describe as pork dollars helped to build the infrastructure of modern-day Alaska, which won statehood in 1959.
On Tuesday, Stevens expressed his frustration to reporters including my colleague Ted Barrett about the toll this ordeal has taken on him.
“I wouldn’t wish what I’m going through on anyone, my worst enemy,” Stevens told reporters in the Capitol. He went on to complain that he has not “had a night’s sleep in almost four months.”
And it has been a lonely four months for the veteran senator, who saw his Republican colleagues distance themselves from him. This did change Wednesday morning as National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Ensign opened his political briefing by stating that Democrats would have at least 58 seats in the new Congress.
Now, Democrats are just two seats away from a filibuster-proof majority with unresolved races in Georgia and Minnesota determining what will happen.
It was a bittersweet loss for Ensign. Stevens’ troubles added to a long list of Republican ethical woes in the past few years that have helped tarnish the GOP brand. But had Stevens won, Ensign predicted the Alaska senator would have been expelled by his Senate colleagues thus creating a special election. Under this scenario, Ensign predicted that Republicans would have held onto the seat and limiting Democratic gains by at least one.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, Stevens had not conceded the race and Ensign said that he would leave that up to him. But as far as Senate Republicans are concerned they have moved on and now are solely focused on winning Georgia and Minnesota – two contests critical to helping the GOP stage a strong defense against Democratic policies and President-elect Barack Obama’s agenda.
What will happen to Stevens is still unknown. He has yet to be sentenced and his fate now lies in the hands of outgoing President George Bush - who could pardon the one-time Capitol Hill titan and spare him prison time.
(CNN) - Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, the Republican lawmaker convicted on felony corruption charges in October, appears to have lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Mark Begich, according to a release from Begich's campaign and unofficial results from state officials.
The statement and results Tuesday come two weeks after the election, after absentee ballots were counted.
With 100 percent of Alaska's precincts reporting, Begich, the mayor of Anchorage, had roughly 47.7 percent of the vote, compared with about 46.6 percent for Stevens, according to unofficial results posted on the Alaska Secretary of State's Web site.
He appears to have bested Stevens by 3,724 votes, according to the posted results.
(CNN) - Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who was recently convicted on seven felony counts, said Tuesday he won’t ask President Bush to pardon him.
“No, no, no,” Stevens responded emphatically when asked if he would seek a pardon.
The embattled senator, who turned 85 Tuesday, spoke briefly to reporters as he entered a meeting of Senate Republicans who were to decide whether he would be allowed to remain a member of their conference.
“I wouldn’t wish what I’m going through on anyone, my worst enemy,” Stevens said in some of his first public comments about his ordeal since he was convicted last month of failing to report more than $250,000 worth of gifts from an Alaskan oil services company which renovated his house.
“Look, I haven’t had a night’s sleep in almost four months. I went home even during the trial. I came to the Senate the night after the trial. So, I’ve been living like three different lives so it’s hard to even answer your questions but I’m doing my best,” he said.
Election officials are still counting outstanding ballots to determine if Stevens will win re-election. His Democratic rival, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, is currently leading by a slim margin.
Republican senators put off their decision about Stevens’ standing in the GOP conference until after its determined if he’ll be re-elected.
(CNN) - It may not be the happiest of birthday's for Ted Stevens. As the longtime Republican Senator from Alaska marks his 85th birthday, he's fighting for his political life.
Stevens was convicted last month of seven felony counts in federal court.
He's locked in a re-election battle with his Democratic challenger, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Two weeks after election day, the vote counting in Alaska continues. Begich currently leads Stevens by 1,022 votes in the fight for Steven's seat, which he's held for 40 years. Some 24,000 votes remain to be counted, as well as absentee ballots from overseas. The results may not be made final until the first week of December.
Back in Washington, Senate Republicans today could vote to expel Stevens from their ranks. This after a move by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, to force a vote on ousting Stevens from the GOP conference, which would strip him of his committee assignments if he survives his campaign battle and is re-elected.
Stevens is trying to become the first person awaiting felony sentencing to ever get elected or re-elected to the Senate. A federal jury found him guilty of lying about gifts and work on his Alaska home. Stevens says he's innocent and will appeal.
UPDATE: Moments after the GOP senators' meeting began Tuesday, DeMint announced he would put off the vote until after Alaska announces the final tally of the close election. An unofficial tally could come Tuesday night.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Republicans have decided to delay a vote on a resolution to strip embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens from his committee assignments, Republican senators told CNN Tuesday.
The Senate GOP caucus is delaying the vote in part because the outcome of Stevens' reelection race against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich remains in doubt.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint - a leading Republican critic of Stevens - issued a statement saying it is "clear there are sufficient votes to pass the resolution... The question now is timing. Some who support the resolution believe we should address this after the results of his election are confirmed in Alaska."
DeMint stated that he would ask the GOP Conference to postpone the vote on Sen. Stevens until Thursday.
One Republican senator told CNN there is no point in holding any vote to strip Stevens of his committee assignments if Stevens loses his seat.
Begich currently has a narrow lead over Stevens, with 47.37 percent of the votes counted, compared to 47.02 percent for Stevens. The two are separated by 1,022 votes out of more than 290,000 cast, according to the Alaska Division of Elections Web site.
Today, 24,000 outstanding votes from the southern part of Alaska are expected to be counted. Absentee ballots, however, are still coming in from overseas. All absentee ballots must be received by tomorrow.
Stevens, who turns 85 Tuesday, was convicted in October of filing false statements on Senate financial disclosure forms. He currently serves on the Senate Appropriations, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Rules committees.