It’s been a fun few days in the criminal case of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK).
The senior senator from Alaska was charged last month for not disclosing $250,000 in gifts from an Alaskan oil company. His lawyers have been pushing to get the trial started right away, and to move it to Alaska. They also argued yesterday that the prosecution of Stevens was trampling the blessed independence of the legislative branch. (Stevens has also said he's innocent.)
Prosecutors have pushed back and last night offered up a near-avalanche of new allegations. After last month detailing an alleged home makeover and cut-rate Mustang, prosecutors now claim (PDF) that the oil company, VECO, also plied Stevens with a Jeep Grand Cherokee for his daughter and a job for his grandson.
Prosecutors also point to a suspicious 2001 $5,000 Florida real estate investment with a âpersonal friend.â That friend, a partner of the company that developed the property, allegedly gave Stevens a $31,000 no-interest loan to help him purchase the condo. Stevens did not disclose the loan on his Senate disclosure forms, prosecutors write. Six months after Stevens put only $5,000 down, the friend allegedly helped arrange for another buyer to buy the property at a $130,000 profit for Stevens.
Then there’s a generator. The motions (PDF) quote an e-mail Stevens sent in 1999:
"Incidentally, I asked Bill Allen to hook up a generator to our chalet for Y2K – JUST IN CASE!!"
According to prosecutors, Stevens got his generator, and as with the rest of the gifts, seems to have forgotten to mention it on his Senate disclosure forms.
Prosecutors also point out another thing that caught our eye. They quote (PDF) two e-mails Stevens allegedly sent last year to somebody -- identified as "Person A" -- who was about to testify in front of a grand jury on the case.
"I hope we can work something out to make sure you aren't led astray on this occasion," Stevens wrote (PDF) in the first e-mail.
Stevens followed up with a second e-mail, complete with a helpful tip: "don't answer questions you don't KNOW the answers to."
Capitalization, as the prosecutor's motion notes, in the original.