US senator loses bid to move corruption trial to Alaska

US senator loses bid to move corruption trial to Alaska

[JURIST] A US district court judge ruled Wednesday that US Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) [official website; JURIST news archive] cannot transfer his corruption trial to Alaska from Washington, DC. Rejecting Stevens' argument that he needed to be in Alaska to campaign for re-election, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan said that the offense alleged in the indictment occurred in Washington and any change in venue would cause unnecessary delay and additional expense. Stevens released a statement on the decision, stating [text]:

I urged my attorneys to request a venue change because I wanted Alaskans to have a first-hand opportunity to learn the facts of this matter. I understand the court’s decision today, and continue to have every faith in the fairness of the American judicial system and the court’s commitment to conduct a speedy trial. I welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that I am innocent of these charges.

The Washington Post has local coverage. The New York Times has more.

Stevens was indicted [PDF text; JURIST report] last month 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 allegedly accepted about $250,000 in gifts over an eight-year period from the founder of oil services and engineering company VECO Corp [corporate website] and in exchange reportedly used his influence in Washington to improperly benefit the company and its employees.