In a major victory against congressional corruption, Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska has been found guilty on all seven counts in his federal trial. Despite numerous blunders by the prosecution, the evidence proved too strong for Senator No who has been an infamous figure for congressional ethics advocates for years.
Obviously, the jury and prosecution problems will give Stevens some interesting appellate issues, but he should be finished politically. For those of us who have complained for years about the corruption of the Stevens family, it is a long-overdue moment.
Stevens was captured on tape telling his close friend “we might have to spend a little time in jail.” It may now be more than a little with a clean sweep by the government.
Clearly the jury did not buy Stevens bizarre claim that gifts like an expensive massage chair were not really gifts if he just used it for years, kept it in his house, and never really accepted it in his mind as a gift. This mind over matter approach to congressional ethics was something of a signature for Stevens.
The longest serving GOP senator is now certain to serve time. He could receive five years for each count, but that is not likely under sentencing guidelines. It would be extremely unusual for Judge Sullivan to sentence Stevens to probation with no jail time. This is particularly the case when a defendant is on tape dismissing the prospects of “a little jail time.”
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