Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Uncle Ted's Indictment & No Perp Walk

The Indictment of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens can be found here. It is a seven count indictment that charges violations of the false statement statute, 18 U.S.C. 1001. In a statement to the press, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich first described the Indictment.  His statement included the following:

"The indictment charges that, while he was sitting as a United States Senator between 1999 and 2006, Senator Stevens accepted gifts from a privately held company known as VECO, its Chief Executive Officer, and others. VECO was an oil field services company and operated on an international basis. VECO was one of the largest private employers in the State of Alaska.

"The gifts Senator Stevens is alleged to have received include substantial amounts of material and labor used in the renovation of a private residence, which Senator Stevens and his wife own, located in the town of Girdwood, Alaska. These renovations are alleged to have included the addition of a new first floor with multiple bedrooms and a bathroom, as well as a finished, full basement.

"VECO contractors and employees performed a significant portion of these renovations. For example, VECO and its employees and contractors are alleged to have provided architectural designs for the renovation; assisted in lifting up the residence and installing a new first floor; installed electric, plumbing, framing, heating and flooring materials; installed a first-floor, wrap-around deck; installed a plastic roof between the first- and second-floor decks; installed a heat tape system on the roof; and performed gutter repair and electrical work.

"The indictment also alleges that Senator Stevens received other gifts from VECO and its CEO, including household goods, furniture, a new Viking gas range, a tool-storage cabinet, and an automobile exchange in which Senator Stevens received a new vehicle worth far more than what he provided in exchange.

"According to the indictment, the total amount of gifts that Senator Stevens is alleged to have received over the duration of the offense is greater than $250,000.

"Also, according to the indictment, these items were not disclosed on Senator Stevens's financial disclosure forms, which he filed under penalties of perjury, either as gifts or as liabilities; and, further, that Senator Stevens did not reimburse or repay VECO or its chief executive officer for these items."

The Acting Assistant Attorney General was asked questions such as why this particular charge was selected as opposed to other statutes.  He made it clear in his response that there were no charges of bribery here.   

The false statement statute used in this indictment is a common one used by prosecutors.

In answers to questions, the Acting Assistant Attorney General did state that he thought the Senator "will be allowed to turn himself in.  He will not be arrested."  It is good to see that the Senator is going to be given a pass on being subjected to a "perp walk."  But perhaps this courtesy should be applied more often to others facing white collar charges.

(esp)

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