Stevens Ran Up at Least $1M in Fees for Legal Team

Posted May 13, 2009 at 6:03pm

Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R) ran up a legal bill of at least $1 million during a criminal corruption trial that ended in a guilty verdict before a federal judge ultimately dismissed the case, according to his latest financial disclosure report.

According to Stevens’ final Senate financial disclosure, filed May 1, the Alaskan lists a liability for “legal fees— incurred between 2007 and 2009 to the Washington, D.C., law firm Williams & Connolly valued at $1 million to $5 million.

The report also lists a liability for “legal fees— to the firm Utrecht & Phillips valued at $50,000 to $100,000 and incurred between 2008 and 2009.

In his previous financial disclosure, which covers the 2007 calendar year, Stevens listed a much smaller liability for only Williams & Connolly valued at $15,000 to $50,000.

Disclosure rules allow Members to report assets and liabilities in broad categories, and there is no way to determine an exact amount unless listed by a lawmaker.

A team of Williams & Connolly attorneys, led by Brendan Sullivan, served as Stevens’ defense team during his criminal trial last fall.

Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on charges that he filed false financial statements to conceal the receipt of tens of thousands of dollars in gifts, mainly in renovations to his home in Girdwood, Alaska.

A jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found Stevens guilty in late October, but Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the case in April after the Justice Department acknowledged its prosecutors had improperly withheld evidence from Stevens’ legal team. Stevens lost his re-election bid in November to now-Sen. Mark Begich (D).

Although Stevens established a legal defense fund in 2008, to date he has not filed reports detailing contributions or expenditures to that account with the Senate Office of Public Records.

Senators are allowed to establish legal defense funds with the approval of the Ethics Committee to pay for civil or criminal proceedings relating to their official duties.

Contributions to such funds are capped at $10,000 per year for an individual and do not count against contribution limits for campaigns, but lobbyists are prohibited from donating.

The Alaskan also continues to maintain his campaign account, which recorded $39,000 in cash on hand as of March 31, and he even registered as a candidate for the 2014 federal election, which allows the campaign to continue to receive donations.