Stevens Defense: Feds 'Twisted' Evidence

On the tapes, Persons says to Allen, "We don't need this thing floating around ... We need to get the guy at Chugach Sewer & Drain to make that disappear from his records."

Through the hour and twenty-minute verbal assault, Stevens sank deeper into his chair, and, at one point, held his hands together like he was praying.

Morris then told the jury they should discount the character witness testimony, saying the defense thought, "Maybe the big name witnesses would sway you ... He's not going to commit crime with Colin Powell."

Saying that politicians always keep their guard up and have public personas they convey, Morris told the jurors, "None of the character witnesses know the private Ted Stevens ... Ladies and gentlemen, you know the real Ted Stevens.

"Behind all that growling and all those snappy comebacks and all that righteous indignations, he's just a man ... Find him guilty of scheming and filing false disclosure forms ... It's your job," Morris concluded.

Earlier in the day, Morris' colleague Joseph Bottini methodically laid out the government's case.

Laying out a series of gifts that Stevens has allegedly received over the years but has failed to disclose, Bottini told the jury, "The price is always right when it is free."

Bottini said that the evidence presented in the case showed that Allen showered Stevens with benefits that extended far beyond renovations on Stevens' home where 20 Veco employees worked.

The prosecution has highlighted a $2,700 massage chair, a $29,000 fish statue and the $1,000 price tag of a sled dog puppy purchased at a charity event to show that Stevens failed to report many things from 2000 to 2006.

"There are gifts that should have been reported, and he knows it," Bottini said.

Bottini said of Stevens, he was trying to "cover and conceal things. ... If he was willing to cover up and devise small things like his dog ... what does it tell you about what he may want to do with the renovations of his home."

Concerning the addition of a $6,000 generator to the home in preparation for Y2K, Bottini said Stevens had "great difficulty explaining it away ... he knew if he was going to ask for a generator, he was going to get one."

Stevens testified at the trial that he instructed Allen to get him a small pull-cord generator in preparations for power outages associated with Y2K, but his friend installed a permanent unit on his Girdwood, Alaska, home. The government alleges that Stevens never claimed the item on his financial disclosure forms. "The defendant says he doesn't want it ... but it's still there."

The prosecutor noted almost a dozen times that it was sheer "nonsense" that Stevens was unable to stop Allen and his generosity.

"Does anyone believe he could get rid of the stuff he received?" Bottini asked. "It was his obligation to report this."

Emphasizing that the case was about the senator accurately filing his U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms, the prosecution summarized its evidence and told the jury that Stevens showed disdain for the reporting requirements in a 2004 e-mail to his friend. "In connection with this *gd* disclosure form," the document noted.

Listing all of the Veco employees that worked on the home, Bottini said Veco had to get Christiansen Builders, the main general contractor that the Stevens' had paid, to do the work because it didn't normally build homes.

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