Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Judge says Ted Stevens prosecutor signaled witness on stand

I hope there won't be too many people that fall off their chairs in shock when they read this story.

Washington Post
An Angry Judge at Stevens Trial
10/ 7/2008
by Derek Kravitz

The surprises keep coming at the corruption trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan admonished Anchorage attorney Robert Bundy after the judge thought he saw him signaling to his client, Bill Allen, on the witness stand yesterday. Sullivan threatened to hold Bundy in contempt and called Bundy's gestures "borderline obstruction of justice," according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Bundy did not appear in court today, thinking he would not be welcome, said his law partner, Creighton Magid. "He is torn up about this," said Magid, who also said Bundy "vehemently denies" making any signals to Allen, according to The Associated Press.

Allen, the government's star witness against Stevens, is making his second trip to the witness stand as the trial enters its third week. (Roll Call notes that by cooperating with federal authorities, he is allowed to keep millions that he had earned from the sale of his Anchorage oil firm, Veco Corp.)

Yesterday, jurors heard secretly-recorded phone calls (transcript) between Stevens and Allen. Stevens, 84, is accused of hiding improper gifts he received from Allen, including home improvements to the tune of $250,000.

On the tapes (and in between the occasional four-letter word, the health tips and the heartfelt I-love-you's from Allen) Stevens tells his fishing and drinking buddy that he's confident he's done nothing wrong -- but also says he's worried about possible jail time.

"These guys can't really hurt us," he says in one phone call, referring to government prosecutors. "They're not going to shoot us. Hell, the worst that can happen to us is that we run up a bunch of legal fees, and might lose and might have to pay a fine and might have to serve a little time in jail -- I hope to Christ it never gets to that -- and I don't think it will. I'm developing the attitude that I don't think I did anything wrong so I'm going to go right through my life and keep doing what I think is right."...

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