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Republican U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, the Minority Party’s elder statesman in the upper house, tapped high-profile Williams & Connolly partner (and one-time Ollie North defender) Brendan Sullivan in 2007 as federal investigators honed in on the senator’s relationship with Anchorage-based engineering firm Veco Corporation. Stevens, who lost all street cred among his grandchildren’s friends when he referred to the internet as “a series of tubes” a few years back, seemed to have his marbles collected this time around: Last week, as reported by every chimp with a keyboard, a federal grand jury leveled seven felony corruption charges against the senator. The feds allege that Stevens failed to report more than $250,000 in gifts—including such niceties as a gratis home renovation and a Range Rover—from Veco between 1999 and 2006.
Stevens, whose wife is an attorney at Mayer Brown’s D.C. office, pleaded not guilty last Thursday; on Monday, Sullivan filed briefs to request the case be moved to Alaska, where the senator has carved out an immense political legacy over a 40-year career—Bridge to Nowhere notwithstanding. The crux of the motion betrays the abysmal timing of the indictment for Stevens, who’s up for re-election in the fall: Arguing that the case’s “center of gravity” lies in Alaska, the defense is pushing the move to allow Stevens to campaign “in the evenings and on weekends during the trial.” Yikes. (“Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. FlannelClad Lumberjack. So sorry to interrupt your moose n’ marmot dinner, but I was tied up all day defending myself against felony corruption charges. Soooooo…how ‘bout that vote?”)
Meanwhile, Alaska’s lone Congressman is the subject of a tangential investigation also involving Veco and its deposed CEO, who pleaded guilty last year to bribing elected officials in the state. The increasingly real prospect of the two institutions (Representative Don Young, who’s retained Akin Gump’s John Dowd and has yet to be charged, has held office since 1973) of Alaska’s three-person D.C. delegation losing their seats could spark a political free-for-all up North, The New York Times reports.
-posted by ben fuchs
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