The government’s chief witness in the prosecution of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens took the stand this afternoon, telling jurors about the $5,000 generator his company installed for free at the Stevens home and the shotguns Stevens offered in exchange for an expensive Mustang convertible.
Longtime Stevens friend Bill Allen, a 71-year-old multimillionaire who is the former owner of an oil services company in Alaska, spoke about the trips he and Stevens took over the years and the property deals between the two that prosecutors say Stevens failed to report on Senate financial disclosure forms. “Ted really worked hard. Ted loved Alaska, and I loved Alaska,” Allen said.
An assistant U.S. attorney, Joseph Bottini, is questioning Allen on direct examination. Bottini explored a deal between Stevens and Allen in which Stevens gave up a so-called “64 ½” Mustang convertible and $5,000 for a new Land Rover. Allen said Stevens benefited financially in the deal. Stevens later tried to get the convertible back—offering firearms. But Allen said he rejected the deal, telling Stevens he should wait until he leaves the Senate to complete the transaction. Allen said he didn’t want anyone thinking anything suspicious. Stevens, 84, is charged with seven counts of filing false financial disclosure forms—concealing gifts and debts from public scrutiny, according to the Justice Department.
In court, Allen recollected fondly the “boot camp” trips where he and Stevens swore off hard liquor for wine and occasionally smoked a cigar or two. The trips, which included a favorite spot in Arizona, featured long walks and minimal dining.
Stevens, prosecutors say, used his position in the Senate to help Allen and his former company VECO. Allen is expected Wednesday morning to detail extensive home renovations at the Stevens home in Alaska in which VECO paid the bills. Stevens, through his Williams & Connolly lawyers—including lead counsel Brendan Sullivan Jr.—has denied any wrongdoing. Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, is up for re-election in November.
Allen was convicted in Alaska federal district court on felony charges that included bribing state elected officials to further the interests of VECO. Williams & Connolly lawyers are expected to attack Allen’s credibility and motivation. The government could rest its case by the end of the week.