Stevens Defense: Feds 'Twisted' Evidence

While the defense has tried to portray that Allen and Stevens were close friends, the prosecutor said that Veco was "the most improbable home contractor around." Bottini noted that while both Stevens and his wife were attorneys, they never had a contract for the work on their home, and they both seemed fine with having a Veco architect draw the blueprints for the home.

The prosecution's strongest evidence appeared to be the playing of Stevens' own voice on FBI surveillance tapes, saying, "These guys can't really hurt us. You know, they're not going shoot us. It's not Iraq. What the hell? The worst that can be done, the worst that can happen to us is we round up a bunch of legal fees and, and might lose, and we might have to pay a fine, might have to serve a little time in jail."

Bottini said to the jury, "Who talks about doing a little time in jail if they didn't do anything wrong?"

When Sullivan rose to plead his case before the jurors, he said the FBI tapes show in full context that Stevens and Allen were talking about campaign contributions. Sullivan noted that Allen was a convicted felon, "a paid witness ... trying to get his $70 million holdout." Sullivan was referring to possible inducements that Allen could get from his sale of Veco to the global engineering firm CH2M Hill. "How can you sleep on verdict night?" Sullivan dramatically asked the jurors.

Sullivan then showed the jurors the numerous checks Ted and Catherine Stevens submitted for payments to their home, which totaled about $160,000. "You can see the innocence in the documents. ... They paid $160,000."

Sullivan said the prosecutors don't understand Stevens' frame of mind. "The government is being Monday morning quarterback, six and seven years out," he said. Sullivan said at the time that Stevens had no idea his friend Allen would become enmeshed in a wide-ranging political scandal in Alaska. "His friend was Bill Allen ... it was Bill Allen, not Veco, that used the chalet. ... It wasn't Veco that pleaded guilty and was convicted."

Sullivan made sure to say Allen "pleaded guilty to campaign violations, none of which involved Ted Stevens."

Perhaps the defense succeeded in casting some reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case: One female juror was seen nodding her head during Sullivan's closing argument as the check flashed before the jury showing payments for the house.

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