Stevens May Testify This Week

Posted October 14, 2008 at 8:43am

Attorneys for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) have announced that both the Senator and his wife may be called as witnesses in his defense this week.

The government has charged Stevens with failing to report tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts on his annual financial disclosure forms. The central allegation in the case is that Bill Allen, CEO of the defunct oil services company VECO, spent about $188,000 of corporate funds renovating the Stevens’ home in Alaska, money the Senator never repaid.

Stevens’ defense team has argued throughout the trial that the Senator had little knowledge of what was going on at the house, because he did not visit very often and his wife managed the bills for the project. Several workers who were involved in the construction testified that they saw Catherine Stevens at the site, but rarely saw Ted Stevens. But the prosecution has also introduced into evidence e-mails indicating that his friend Bob Persons, who was overseeing the project, kept him informed in great detail about the progress of the renovations.

The government has issued a broad-ranging subpoena for e-mails and other documents from Catherine Stevens’ law firm, Mayer Brown, but the defense team has moved to quash it.

Catherine Stevens is the last of 13 witnesses whom the defense has announced it may call today, including Persons; if all of the witnesses are called in the order listed, it is unlikely that Catherine Stevens would take the stand today. Ted Stevens is listed among the defense witnesses who may be called Wednesday. Also on the defense witness list for Wednesday is Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is being called to vouch for Stevens’ reputation for truthfulness among his colleagues.

Their appearance on the witnesses list does not guarantee that either of the Stevenses will actually testify.