A Series of Indictments on the bridge to jail

Ted Stevens indicted, longest-serving GOP senator

Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, was indicted today on seven counts of failing to disclose thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate and maintain his home. The first sitting U.S. senator to face federal indictment since 1993, Stevens has been dogged by a federal investigation into his home renovation project and his dealings with wealthy oil contractor.

Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, was indicted today on seven counts of failing to disclose thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate and maintain his home.

The first sitting U.S. senator to face federal indictment since 1993, Stevens has been dogged by a federal investigation into his home renovation project and his dealings with wealthy oil contractor.

The investigation has upended Alaska state politics and cast scrutiny on Stevens — who is running for re-election this year — and on his congressional colleague, Rep. Don Young of Alaska, who is also under investigation.

Stevens’ indictment further damages Republican prospects in the November election as Senate Democrats, who now enjoy a 51-49 majority, try to capture a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority.

Matthew Friedrich, chief of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said prosecutors followed the department’s policy to keep politics out of the decision-making process.

“We bring cases based on our evaluation of the facts and the law,” Friedrich said. “We bring cases when they are ready to be charged and that’s what happened here.”

Prosecutors said Stevens received more than $250,000 in gifts and services from VECO CORP, a powerful oil services contractor, and its executives. From May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said, the 84-year-old senator concealed “his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation.”

Stevens has adamantly denied any wrongdoing.

In a prepared statement on his Web site today, Stevens wrote:

“I have proudly served this nation and Alaska for over 50 years. My public service began when I served in World War II. It saddens me to learn that these charges have been brought against me. I have never knowingly submitted a false disclosure form required by law as a U.S. Senator.

In accordance with Senate Republican Conference rules, I have temporarily relinquished my vice-chairmanship and ranking positions until I am absolved of these charges.

The impact of these charges on my family disturbs me greatly. I am innocent of these charges and intend to prove that.”

indicted

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