By Jesse J. Holland
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The government's star witness in the corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) concluded his testimony yesterday and left the courtroom without exchanging even a glance with the defendant, his dear old ex-friend.
Prosecutors used the testimony of Bill Allen, a self-made oil pipeline magnate, to attack Stevens's claim that he was clueless about the extent of free work Allen and his company, Veco, did to revamp the senator's mountain cabin.
Allen yesterday quoted Stevens as saying during one of their many dinners together, "I know you're putting more work in there than what you're saying."
Stevens, 84, is accused of lying on financial disclosure forms to conceal more than $250,000 in home renovations and gifts from Allen, who testified as part of a plea deal in a bribery investigation of Alaska legislators.
On cross-examination, Allen testified that, in addition to a possible break at sentencing, he has millions of dollars riding on his cooperation. Under the terms of a $380 million sale last year of Veco to Denver-based CH2M Hill, the buyer was allowed to withhold $70 million until it saw whether Allen's cooperation helped deflect criminal charges against the company itself.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he would hold a hearing today on repeated defense claims that prosecutors intentionally withheld evidence favorable to their client.
In a late Monday night filing, prosecutors said they had done nothing wrong and called the defense claims "the latest salvo in their effort to derail the trial."
Also yesterday, Sullivan accused Allen's attorney of making secret signals to his client during his cross-examination.
"He's fortunate he went out that door and not the back door with the marshals," Sullivan said about lawyer Robert Bundy, who sat Monday in the public gallery facing his client.
Bundy did not come to the courtroom yesterday, thinking he would not be welcome, law partner Creighton Magid said. "He is torn up about this," said Magid, who also said Bundy "vehemently denies" making any signals to Allen.