More Ted Stevens Gifts? Massage Chair, Sled Dog

Court documents add to list of gifts Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens allegedly accepted.

Sept. 9, 2008— -- A massage chair, a hand-made stained glass window and a sled dog are among the items prosecutors have added to a list of gifts they claim Sen. Ted Stevens concealed, according to court documents filed Monday.

As the corruption trial for the Alaska Republican, the longest-serving senator in his party, approaches, both prosecutors and defense counsel are showing their cards -- their possible evidence and defense strategy -- through a series of court filings.

A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. indicted the 84-year-old Stevens in August for allegedly lying on U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms. Stevens allegedly concealed $250,000 worth of gifts and renovations to his Girdwood, Alaska, home over a six-year period.

The government has filed a brief and presented new information, claiming Stevens also received gifts of a massage chair and a sled dog in addition to renovations on his house. The gifts allegedly came from Bill Allen, then-CEO of now-defunct oil services company VECO.

"From 2000 through 2006, the defendant [Sen. Stevens] accepted substantial things of value from Allen and VECO in connection with the renovation of the Girdwood Residence. Beginning in 2000, Allen, at defendant's request and as a result of defendant's direct involvement, instructed VECO employees and contractors to conduct major renovations to the defendant's home."

According to the government, Stevens never claimed the gifts on his required disclosure forms.

Court documents claim Stevens accepted a $2,695 massage chair from Person A, a $3,200 hand-designed, hand-constructed stained glass window built to specifications provided by the defendant and his spouse but paid for by Person B and given to Stevens in 2001. Neither were reported on his 2001 Financial Disclosure Form. Court documents also claim that a sled dog, valued at approximately $1,000, was given to the defendant by Person B in 2003, which the defendant misrepresented on his 2003 Financial Disclosure Form as a $250 gift from an Alaskan nonprofit charitable organization.

"In 1999, Allen provided, at the defendant's request, a new backup generator for the Girdwood Residence," the government noted in documents filed Monday. "The same year, Allen transferred to the defendant a new 1999 Land Rover Discovery worth approximately $44,000, and Allen accepted in exchange for a 1964 Ford Mustang and $5,000, with a combined value of less than $20,000."

Stevens' defense lawyers, in a motion filed Monday, asserted that Bill Allen and VECO allegedly helped Sen. Stevens' grown children and grandchild to "get a good price on a car and to find employment," but do not prove "the Senator's knowledge or intent about any transaction or reporting requirement alleged in the indictment."

The defense noted in papers filed Monday that Allen had suffered from a brain injury and cited previous testimony given by Allen in the trial of former Alaska state legislature member Peter Kott.

According to court records, Allen was involved in a 2001 motorcycle accident and was not wearing a helmet at the time. On the witness stand in Kott's trial, Allen told the court about the accident. "I think it -- I do fine. My memory, everything is good but my speech. ... It hit me right in your speech in your brain. ... My brain was died about a quarter."

Stevens' lawyers noted, "To date, the government has not disclosed any documents or other information relating to this injury that might allow the defense to determine what impact, if any, the injury may have had on Allen's ability to recall and perceive the events at issue in this case."

A status hearing in the Stevens case has been set for Wednesday in Washington with jury selection scheduled for Sept. 22.