Monday, October 27, 2008

Mr. Foreman, have you reached a verdict?

Yes we have, your Honor.

What says the jury?

Guilty as hell, your Honor:

WASHINGTON — Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate’s history and a figure of enormous influence in his state, was found guilty on Monday of violating ethics laws for failing to report gifts and services that he was given by friends.

A federal jury of eight women and four men from the District of Columbia found that the 84-year-old Mr. Stevens, who has represented Alaska in the Senate for more than 40 years, knowingly failed to list on Senate disclosure forms the receipt of several gifts and tens of thousands of dollars worth of remodeling work on his home in Girdwood, Alaska.

The verdict came just eight days before the senator is to face re-election and after more than three weeks of testimony, the highlight of which was Mr. Stevens making the calculated risk of taking the witness stand in his own defense. As the verdict was announced, the senator remained composed and stared at the ceiling while his lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, put his arm around him.

And by the way, Brendan Sullivan is a helluva lawyer. He delivered Spot's favorite lawyer line of all time, in response to a complaint that he objected too much: "Well, sir, I'm not a potted plant. I'm here as the lawyer. That's my job." He was representing Ollie North in front of a Senate Committee at the time, but never mind. Chances are, Senator Stevens got the best defense possible. Spot wouldn't look for any reversals on the grounds of inadequate counsel.

Being convicted on seven - Spot believes they are all felony - counts eight days before an election can't be helpful. Digby called the conviction and its timing a coda to the end of corrupt big-money Republican rule.

Spot thinks of it as more of a stinger.

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