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Stevens Found Guilty on 7 Counts
Stevens's attorneys signaled that they will file court papers seeking to overturn the verdict, and U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan did not set a sentencing date. He allowed Stevens to remain free on personal bond.
Prosecutors declined to comment as they left the courtroom, but Matthew W. Friedrich, acting assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's criminal division, spoke briefly to reporters outside the courthouse, saying: "This has been a long, hard-fought battle."
"This investigation continues, as does our commitment to holding elected officials accountable when they violate our laws," he added, without taking questions.
The verdict came just hours after jurors had re-started their deliberations at 9:30 a.m. yesterday, when one juror whose father died was replaced by an alternate.
By 3:15 p.m., the D.C. panel of eight women and four men sent the judge a note informing him that they had a reached a verdict.
Prosecutors with the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section alleged throughout the trial that Stevens was a miser who approached a close friend to help him remodel his house in Girdwood, Alaska. That friend, Bill Allen, chief executive of the now-defunct oil services company Veco, testified that his company financed extensive renovations to the house from 2000 through 2002.
Veco workers testified in great detail that they helped jack up the rustic cabin on stilts to transform it, adding a new first floor, a garage and two wraparound decks. In extensive e-mail traffic during that period, Stevens was kept abreast of the work by a neighbor, who lauded the work of Allen and two Veco employees.
Stevens contended that Veco played no role in the renovations, that Allen was only providing workers and that he had been paying the firm's moonlighting employees. He and his wife, Catherine, testified that they thought a residential contractor had been in charge of the remodeling work. They paid that firm about $132,000 in 2000 and 2001 and paid other workers about $30,000.
Stevens's attorneys argued that the couple believed they had paid fair market value for all of the work. They attacked the credibility of Allen, who previously pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in a wide-ranging investigation of corruption in Alaska politics. Stevens's attorneys pounded prosecutors for withholding evidence and allowing a witness to quietly return to Alaska.
The judge chastised prosecutors several times for mishandling documents and struck some testimony and records because Justice Department lawyers did not turn over information to the defense.
Stevens also was accused of accepting other gifts, including a sled dog and a $2,700 massage chair. Prosecutors said Stevens received the dog from a friend who bought it from a nonprofit at a 2003 auction for $1,000. Stevens reported the value of the dog, Kiely, as $250 -- the price he paid for another puppy -- and said it had been given to him by the nonprofit, not his friend.
"He worked so hard to hide a dog's true value," said prosecutor Brenda Morris, who added that Stevens's other alleged misdeeds were easy to believe if he went to "those lengths for a dog, to not provide the truth when he knew full well what the truth was."
"The little things prove the big things," Morris said in closing arguments.
In the case of the chair, a friend testified that he gave the Brookstone lounger to Stevens as a gift. But the senator sent him an e-mail at the time saying the chair was just a loan. Stevens repeated that on the witness stand, though the chair has been in his basement for seven years.
Staff writer Paul Kane contributed to this report.