The public corruption trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens abruptly adjourned this afternoon following the hour-long lunch recess when U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan announced a postponement to accommodate a juror.
To address the matter privately, Sullivan called to his bench the Williams & Connolly team defending Stevens and the Justice Department prosecutors. The group talked for a minute before disbanding. Sullivan, calling the matter “sealed,” said nothing further in open court Prosecutors packed up their bags and left court.
Sixteen jurors—a panel that includes four alternates—were selected earlier this week following two days of voir dire. The government’s case had been moving swiftly until today’s adjournment. A longtime Stevens friend, Bill Allen, the government’s chief witness, was expected to continue testifying this afternoon. Government lawyers say they expect to rest their case by the end of the week.
On Thursday, prosecutors expect to play for jurors three tapes of conversations between Allen and Stevens, who at 84 is the longest-serving Republican in the Senate. Stevens is charged with filing false financial disclosure forms in the Senate to obscure gifts and other items from public review.
Allen, former owner of VECO, the oil services company, was convicted in Alaska federal district court for his role in bribing state lawmakers there. Prosecutors say VECO arranged for hundreds of thousands of dollars in home renovations at the Stevens home in Alaska. Stevens, prosecutors say, paid nothing for the work.