Washington—Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the longest serving Republican in Senate history, was convicted Monday on all counts related to his failure to report accepting more than $250,000 worth of home renovations and other gifts since 2001.
Stevens, 84, could face up to five years in prison on each of seven counts, but under federal sentencing guidelines he could get very little prison time or none at all, according to the Associated Press.
“I am obviously disappointed in the verdict but not surprised given the repeated instances of prosecutorial misconduct in this case,” Stevens said in a prepared statement. “I am innocent. This verdict is the result of the unconscionable manner in which the Justice Department lawyers conducted this trial. I ask that Alaskans and my Senate colleagues stand with me as I pursue my rights. I remain a candidate for the United States Senate.”
Stevens was indicted in August for failing to report the gifts on multiple Senate financial disclosures, which are filed annually. At his trial in federal court here, Stevens insisted that he paid every bill he was sent to perform extensive renovations to his Girdwood, Alaska residence.
In the indictment, the Justice Department alleged that the home improvements, which included a new first floor and a finished basement, were paid by oil company VECO Corp. and its CEO Bill J. Allen, a close friend of Stevens. Claiming he never knowingly filed false financial disclosure forms, Stevens vowed to fight the charges.
Senate Commerce Committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and former Secretary of State Colin Powell testified at the trial attesting to Stevens' probity and good character.
“I am deeply saddened by the jury’s decision to find Senator Ted Stevens guilty of the charges,” Inouye said in a statement. “However, this may not be the final decision as this matter is subject to appeal."
“I hope the people of Alaska continue to believe in Ted Stevens, to remember his contributions, and to look upon him as a friend,” the statement continued. “He will continue to be my friend.”
Stevens is seeking re-election next week in Alaska. According to the Associated Press, Stevens, now a convicted felon, can continue to run for a new six-year term and he isn't forced to give up his Senate seat. At some point, the Senate could vote to expel him.
Under Senate Republican rules, Stevens in August had to give up his party leadership post on the Senate Commerce Committee. He was replaced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas).
Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 26, according to the Associated Press.