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US senator found guilty on corruption charges

[JURIST] A jury for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Monday convicted Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) [official website] on seven counts of making false statements [18 USC s. 1001(a) text] relating to an alleged corruption scheme and for falsifying his Financial Disclosure Forms. Stevens had been charged [indictment, PDF; JURIST report] with accepting approximately $250,000 in gifts over an eight-year period from the founder of oil services and engineering company VECO Corp. [corporate website]. According to the indictment, the gifts included home improvements, vehicle trades and other smaller gifts. In exchange he reportedly used his influence in Washington to improperly benefit the company and its employees. Stevens has said he plans to appeal his convictions and to continue his current bid for re-election [campaign website]. Stevens stepped down [AP report] from his position on the Senate's Commerce and Appropriations Committee [official website] when he was indicted, and would have to be voted out by two-thirds of the Senate to be removed from office early. The Senate Ethics Committee [official website] has said that it will wait until the case is concluded before deciding whether to independently investigate the charges. AP has more. AFP has additional coverage.

In August, Stevens had requested that his trial be moved to Alaska so that he could continue to campaign in the state, but the presiding judge refused his request [JURIST report]. Last year, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service searched Stevens' home [JURIST report] as part of a continuing investigation into corruption in Alaska. The Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that so far seven politicians and lobbyists have been convicted in connection with the investigation, including former Alaska state Representative Tom Anderson [JURIST report]. In October 2007, Anderson was sentenced [JURIST report] to five years in prison for accepting nearly $26,000 he believed to be from private correctional facilities firm Cornell Industries [corporate website] in exchange for Anderson's influence on then-pending measures on halfway houses.

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