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Originally published Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Witness in Stevens' trial says he was coached

A witness in the corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, told a federal judge that he received extensive help from prosecutors before taking the stand and would have testified differently had he not been given their assistance.

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — A witness in the corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, told a federal judge that he received extensive help from prosecutors before taking the stand and would have testified differently had he not been given their assistance.

He also said he believed he had an agreement with the government that gave him immunity from prosecution in the case. During the trial he told the jury that no formal deal existed.

Stevens' defense lawyers disclosed the accusations in a motion Friday seeking permission to question the witness, David Anderson, and to schedule a hearing to consider the letter he wrote to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who presided in the case. In their court filing, they accused the government of "suborning perjury and making intentionally false statements" tied to Anderson's testimony.

In a court filing later Friday, federal prosecutors said Anderson's accusations were false. "The government has now obtained substantial additional evidence, including both documents and video surveillance, that prove the falsity of Mr. Anderson's allegations and that further explicitly prove Mr. Anderson's collusion with an interested party in the preparation and transmission of Mr. Anderson's letter," they wrote.

Stevens was convicted on seven felony counts of lying on financial-disclosure forms to hide tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and free renovations to his house in Girdwood, Alaska. Federal prosecutors accused Stevens of accepting many of the gifts and renovations from the oil-services firm, VECO, and its top executive, Bill Allen, a close friend of Stevens'.

Stevens, who narrowly lost his Senate re-election bid this month, is expected to file motions seeking to have his conviction thrown out.

Anderson, Allen's nephew, lives in Alaska and worked for VECO. He testified that he performed hundreds of hours of labor on Stevens' house.

Anderson sent his letter to Sullivan, the prosecutors and defense lawyers, seeking, he wrote, "to clarify my testimony during the trial."

Anderson wrote that he was allowed to review his grand-jury testimony for several months before he testified. And, he wrote, prosecutors gave him an extensive timeline for the "Ted Stevens job."

"Without the preparation from the prosecution and the reminders from them about my activities and the agreement I had with them about my family and myself," he wrote, "I would not have given the same testimony."

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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