Stevens Testifies Today

Senator Ted Stevens took the stand today in his criminal trial. He testified that he pays his bills when he knows about them, that he intended to pay for his home renovations, and that if he neglected to pay it's only because he's a busy senator working a long distance from his Alaskan home. And besides, he left it to his wife to handle the project, so blame her if something got screwed up. He didn't disclose gifts, including the renovations, that were paid for by his friend Bill Allen because he didn't think Allen had given him any gifts.

"What goes on in the house is Catherine's business. What goes on outside is my business," Stevens testified. He told jurors he never asked for some of the key features of the renovation project, such as a balcony and steel staircase. He said he didn't know anything about them until he saw the completed project.

As for Allen, who "testified that Stevens knew he wasn't getting billed for everything and just wanted invoices to protect himself," Stevens claims Allen told "an absolute lie." Stevens will be cross-examined this afternoon.

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    What about the doctrine that (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 02:08:05 PM EST
    willful ignorance is not a defense?  (Said very briefly....)

    I mean, the house pretty much doubled in size.

    Not quite as cut-and-dried (none / 0) (#2)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 02:11:29 PM EST
    as some would have it.
    I [Mrs. Stevens] believed that any work that was done on the chalet we were billed for and we would pay for,'' she said. ``We've been billed and paid for work that has been done on the chalet for over 17 years.''

    Later, under cross-examination by a prosecutor, Catherine Stevens said improvements such as a new deck on the first floor were added without her knowledge.

    ``I thought a bill was coming in for the work on the first floor,'' she said. ``I don't know if a bill came in. I forgot about it.''

    She said she visited the home ``a couple of times a year'' during the renovations in 2000-2002. She said other unrequested improvements were made, including a new flight of stairs on the rear of the house, a new gas grill and a large sculpture of a salmon.

    Stevens described her husband as a ``classic workaholic'' so preoccupied with his Senate duties that he would bring work home and answer inquiries late into the evening.

    `Works All the Time'

    ``He works all the time,'' she said. ``He insists on reading every memo.''

    The senator's wife testified that bills for the renovation were sent to Bob Persons, a friend of Stevens who helped oversee the work at the home, because Persons lived in Girdwood year- round and the Stevens home had no mail service.

    I forgot about a bill (none / 0) (#10)
    by MKS on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 06:38:51 PM EST
    sounds like a phony bill that could be ignored....

    But it does sound hard to prove....


    Sorry, but I don't see the big crime here (none / 0) (#3)
    by Exeter on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 02:35:06 PM EST
    There is no evidence of quid pro quo and the only accusation is that he did not report gifts received. This whole thing sounds very similar to the $500,000 yard Rezko bought next door to Obama, but could only be accessed from Obama's property. I'm not interesting in revisiting Rezko and neither should anyone else, which is why the potential blowback from this trial has me uneasy.

    Off topic (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by MKS on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 06:34:07 PM EST
    Stevens is on trial for his own alleged crimes.....No one has accused Obama of a crime....End of story....

    Accepting thousands of dollars (none / 0) (#5)
    by TomStewart on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 03:44:18 PM EST
    of undeclared 'gifts'? And then saying, 'oh I never got a bill, and besides, it was my wife's fault because she didn't pay it (throwing his wife under the bus, nice Ted). Not a problem to anyone? No 'quid pro quo? You'd have to look back at Steven's career at the many favors he did for Allen and Allen assoc. The Gov has done a pretty poor job with it's case, and I can't help but think it did so on purpose. I was frankly surprised the Bush administration even bothered.

    To be fair, (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 03:54:31 PM EST
    I think what he really said was "I have no knowledge of any labor and/or materials provided to me that I wasn't billed for, and I paid everything that I was billed for."

    Now, whether you believe him or not is another matter altogether.


    It does all seem pretty in-credible. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Fabian on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 08:09:03 PM EST
    It's almost as if they let someone have free rein with their home improvement project.

    Usually with home improvement, there's conference after conference, reviews of plans, lots of figuring the difference between what you want and what you can afford, how you'll pay for it all, what parts will be put off until such a time that you can pay for them.  Plus the inevitable snags with subcontractors and scheduling problems and so on.

    Who was in charge of this project?  Who was paying the bills?  Certainly someone was funding this project.


    Kinda odd questions. (none / 0) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:32:37 PM EST
    The "chalet" is in the boonies - and AK's boonies are distant and isolated like no other. The project takes like 12 months, more maybe? and both Stevens and the Mrs. are away at their real jobs 1000's of miles away, most of time (she's a partner in a law firm). Mail and bills and such were sent to a local friend in the boonies who tries to deal with them. The "chalet" doesn't even have mail service. They never even met the architect in person. Sounds like a lot of "mover and shaker" "on the go" couples I've met.

    Again, not that this means he must be innocent.


    I guess I don't know any (none / 0) (#13)
    by Fabian on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 06:32:31 AM EST
    filthy rich people.

    Or at least any careless rich people.

    Most people with that much money got that way by being very careful with their money.  I must admit the idea of having so much money coming in that you don't worry about ten grand here (let alone doing a massive renovation at a place you barely live in) or a hundred grand there is very attractive.  Beats worrying about the mortgage or the next tank of gas.


    Is he getting the Alaska permanent fund dividend? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mifratz on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 04:04:07 PM EST
    I bet he is but claims he is not.  Why is he there so rarely?  Big Government duties got him so occupied; I seriously doubt it.  Ultimately, however there really is no way to beat these Republicans because there are so many fundamental primal reasons (mainly paternalism) that inhibit our ability to resist these chauvinists.

    Not sure a quid pro quo (none / 0) (#9)
    by MKS on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 06:36:56 PM EST
    is needed....Just knowledge of a gift.....And it may be that the prosecution really didn't have that kind of evidence....

    The cross of Stevens should be very interesting.  He is nasty guy and on cross he could well growl....