Posted Sep 26, 2008 03:01 pm CDT
Testimony began Thursday in the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the first such trial against a sitting senator in more than 20 years.
Stevens’s lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, opened by saying that the 84-year-old Stevens didn’t lie on his financial disclosure forms, is an honest man and didn’t intentionally violate the law.
Stevens is charged in federal court with failing to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts and extensive home renovations. Prosecutors maintain Stevens shielded those disclosures to obscure ties to oil company exec Bill Allen, the Washington Post reports.
But Sullivan reportedly said that it was Stevens who was shielded from the true costs of his renovations.
“You can’t report what you don’t know,” Sullivan is quoted saying. “You can’t fill out a form and report what was kept from you from the deviousness of someone like Bill Allen.”
Allen, whose cooperation has already led to the conviction of two Alaska lawmakers, is expected to testify against Stevens.
Stevens was indicted in July, but requested a speedy trial in an attempt to clear his name before the election in November, the Post notes. Stevens is seeking his 7th full term in office.
Evidence is expected to focus heavily on e-mails sent to and from Stevens during the renovations.