July 30th, 2008
09:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Stevens to make first court appearance Thursday

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/07/29/stevens.history/art.tedstevens.jpg caption="Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was charged Tuesday with making false statements on financial disclosure forms."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Indicted Sen. Ted Stevens will make his first court appearance Thursday afternoon in Federal District Court in Washington, according to court records.

The Alaska Republican was indicted Tuesday on charges of lying about receiving gifts from an Alaska-based energy company on whose behalf he intervened in Washington.

Stevens has denied the charges.

"I am innocent of these charges and intend to prove that," the veteran lawmaker said in a written statement Tuesday.

He told reporters Wednesday he would make a statement later, but refused to elaborate.

The seven-count indictment says Veco Energy paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work on Stevens' home over a period of about seven years. It says that he made false statements regarding the property on his mandatory Senate financial disclosure forms.

Stevens is to appear Thursday before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan after an interview with court authorities in the morning, according to an order signed by Sullivan.

Profile of Sen. Stevens

He will not necessarily enter a formal plea at the appearance, but may do so.

He appeared for work at a Senate committee hearing Wednesday, where Sen. George Voinovich, an Ohio Republican, greeted him with a pat on the back and a slight hug.

Stevens has not been arrested. The Justice Department said Tuesday he would be allowed to turn himself in.

The indictment does not accuse Stevens of accepting bribes, said Matt Friedrich, the acting assistant attorney general.

"Bribery is not charged in this case," he emphasized in a news conference Tuesday, adding such a charge "requires proof of a specific quid pro quo. This indictment does not allege that."

But it does accuse Stevens and his staff of receiving requests from Veco for help in Washington and acting on some of them.

Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, has been a lightning rod for critics of pork-barrel spending in recent years.

In 2005, he backed a project to build a what was derided as a "bridge to nowhere." The proposal called for construction of a $223 million bridge to connect Alaska's Gravina Island - population 50 - to the mainland. Congress later rescinded the earmarked funding for the bridge.

The indictment against Stevens follows a wide-ranging probe into ties between the company and lawmakers in Alaska.

Stevens issued a statement saying he has "never knowingly submitted a false disclosure form required by law as a U.S. senator."

He stepped down from leadership positions on Senate committees following the indictment.

"In accordance with Senate Republican Conference rules, I have temporarily relinquished my vice-chairmanship and ranking positions until I am absolved of these charges," he said.

Stevens was caught by surprise by the indictment, his colleague and friend Sen. Daniel Inouye told CNN.

"Apparently the media knew about it before he did," the Hawaii Democrat said Tuesday afternoon, adding he had just spoken to Stevens.

Stevens was meeting with Republican colleagues when the indictment was returned by a federal grand jury, and he was pulled out of the meeting, Inouye said.

"As far as he's concerned he's not guilty. And I believe him," he said.

The government charges that Stevens "knowingly and willfully engaged in a scheme to conceal ... his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of things of value" by failing to report them on his annual financial disclosure forms.

The home improvements provided by Veco and its chief executive officer, Bill Allen, whom the indictment calls a "personal friend of Stevens," included a new first floor, a new garage, a new first- and second-story wraparound deck, new plumbing and new wiring.

Allen gave Stevens a new 1999 Land Rover worth $44,000 in exchange for $5,000 and Stevens' 1964 Ford Mustang, which was worth less than $20,000 at the time, the indictment charged.

Stevens "could and did use his official position and his office on behalf of Veco," one of the state's largest employers, the indictment charges.

Allen pleaded guilty in May 2007 paying out more than $400,000 "in corrupt payments" to Alaska officials, the Department of Justice said in announcing the Stevens indictment. Allen is cooperating with the Department of Justice as part of his plea agreement, Friedrich said. Veco was acquired by
another company, CH2M Hill, in September 2007.

FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents searched Stevens' Alaska home in July 2007 in connection with the long-running Alaska corruption probe, which has already snared two oil-company executives and a state lobbyist, among others. At the time, Stevens urged constituents "not to form conclusions based upon incomplete and sometimes incorrect reports in the media."

The 84-year-old senator is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is renowned for his prowess in steering federal funds to his vast, sparsely populated state.

He has been active in politics in Alaska since before it became a state.

He first came to Washington to work in President Dwight Eisenhower's White House in the 1950s. He then moved back to Alaska and ran for state representative. He was elected to the Alaska House in 1964, was appointed to the Senate in 1968 and has been re-elected since then. He is up for re-election this year.

He is the 11th senator in U.S. history to be indicted, according to the office of the Senate historian. Four were convicted or pleaded guilty.

Filed under: Ted Stevens
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. sola


    July 30, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. DJ, LA, CA

    Lock him up and throw away the key. Good riddance, lying crook.

    July 30, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. non-white & non-black person

    just another reason not to vote for a liar GOP!

    July 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Dana

    Bush will pardon somebody like this if he goes to jail while Bush is in office!! Pathetic!!

    July 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Ms. D

    Is this the moral, patriotism, and ethical behavior that the conservatives are looking for? LOL!!

    July 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Cindy Hussein McCain

    Another corrupt Republican... who would have thought?

    July 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Mat

    I don't watch polls or believe in them – when it comes to the day of voting the American people in the privacy of the voting booth will make their choice.

    McCain is paying money for ads that hold no substance and try to highlight Obama as a celebrity? Strange, the American people were in love with our biggest celebrity president JFK so maybe a popular President is something this country is in need of.

    I also like how McCain is flip flopping more than a fish out of water! suddenly he's all about off shore drilling? hmmm – Lets face it, when was the last time we saw a crowd in a foreign country waving the American flag, without it being on fire?

    Roll on November – it's about time this country had a new direction to follow.

    July 30, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Barack the Vote in RI

    ...another rethuglican getting his just due.

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Gee he must be guilty even the republicans want him indicted and they are urging him to resign.....

    July 30, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Vote Nader -There are more blog entries on Sen. Stevens than there has been for Ralph Nader this whole election. What gives?

    Because no one cares about Nadar. He is a non-issue in this upcoming election. What could possibly be interesting or newsworthy about him?

    July 30, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Tom, St. Paul

    He wants us to excuse him because he served in the military during WWII? Sorry, it's 2008, not 1958. Face the music.

    July 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. She's singing

    A fully Democrat senate, house, and White House. You will see what Dems can do when they are not being blocked by crooks and liers.

    July 30, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square


    I feel Senator Steven's pain. But listen up my friends:

    I always say where there is smoke there is fire. So if AFL – CIO is denying something, there must be some truth in there somewhere.

    Besides Obama is the riskier of the two candidates. I am afraid of his immature decisions and his hesitancy to go to war when everyone in Congress, the President and foreign leaders think we should.

    Obama is a flipper of the worst kind.

    Watch him try to resurrect the welfare queen industry. if you want someone to protect our values pick McCain, if you want some risky leader choose obama.

    He lives in a state of denial about the surge……………………..

    July 30, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Patrick Lewis

    Too bad that he won't loose his election based upon the simple fact that he's a total idiot. That would have made me happier. The fact that he's a crook is almost besides the point.

    July 30, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Susan

    McCain has always hated Stevens. Not only will he throw him under the bus, he will run it back and forth a few times. Really surprised no comment for the McCain Slime media, though. Could it be McLame is hiding from another Republican puppett have his strings cut off?

    July 30, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Toast

    This old dude is toast!

    July 30, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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