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Senior Republican loses bid to move trial

Senior Republican loses bid to move trial

A senior Republican senator lost a bid Wednesday to move his corruption trial from Washington to his home state of Alaska.
Sen. Ted Stevens is scheduled for trial next month on charges of lying about hundreds of thousands of dollars in home renovations and other services he received from an oil services contractor.
The powerful Republican senator asked that the case be moved to Alaska, so it would not slow down his re-election bid. After hearing arguments Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan refused.
Assuming Stevens makes it through the Republican primary, the court ruling could affect his ability to campaign during the weeks leading up to the Nov. 4 Election Day. If the trial had been moved to Alaska, he planned to defend himself in court by day and campaign in the evenings and on weekends.
Stevens, the Senate's longest-serving Republican, asked for, and received, an unusually speedy trial that he hopes will clear his name before Election Day.
"Unfortunately, no matter the outcome of this trial, this schedule alone may not be enough to ensure that Senator Stevens has the ability to compete meaningfully in the upcoming election," Stevens' lawyers wrote in court documents recently.
Stevens' lawyers told the judge they had hoped jurors could visit the senator's ski resort chalet, which was renovated by employees of VECO Corp. His attorney argued the cost of those renovations is nowhere near the government's estimate. With the trial in Washington, such a visit will be impractical.
The Justice Department opposed the request, arguing that the crime _ lying on Senate documents _ took place in Washington.
As for the value of the renovations, prosecutors say that is not the issue. The question, they say, is not whether he received precisely $250,000 from VECO; it is whether the value exceeded the $260 limit that Senate rules say must be disclosed.


Updated : 2021-05-07 08:33 GMT+08:00