- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A federal prosecutor hammered away at Sen. Ted Stevens during the last day of the Alaska Republican’s testimony Monday as he continued to say he was unaware that a corporate donor was paying for renovations of his home.

The Justice Department accuses the senator of lying on financial disclosure forms to hide the contributions.

A government attorney presented e-mails Mr. Stevens sent to his wife and former chief of oil industry equipment company VECO Corp., praising the work by a VECO employee on the cabin at Girdwood, Alaska.

“It’s still your testimony that VECO was not involved in renovation of your house?” asked Justice Department attorney Brenda Morris during the trial in U.S. District Court in Washington.

“VECO was not involved in renovating my house,” Mr. Stevens said.

Ms. Morris then presented a Sept. 24, 2000, e-mail Mr. Stevens sent to VECO founder Bill Allen at a VECO address.

Referring to the home renovation, it included the comment from Mr. Stevens: “We are really pleased with all you have done.”

Mr. Stevens explained that Allen was a longtime personal friend who he did not believe intended his help with the home remodeling to be a political donation.

Previously, Mr. Stevens said Allen often used the cabin for personal visits.

“So you are making a distinction between Bill Allen the person and VECO the corporation,” Ms. Morris asked.

“That is correct,” said Mr. Stevens, who unlike Friday did not lose his composure during testimony on Monday.

Allen removed some of the furniture that the Stevenses put in the home when he put in his own, which prompted Ms. Morris to ask, “Why didn’t you call the police when Bill Allen stole your furniture?”

“It never occurred to me to call the police,” Mr. Stevens said. “It might now.”

Allen, who has pleaded guilty to charges of bribing two Alaska state legislators, has been the government’s star witness against Mr. Stevens. His testimony implied that the lawmaker was trying to cover up his awareness of the renovation gifts.

The prosecutor referred to a Senate rule that requires senators to list all gifts from donors each year in financial disclosure forms when she asked, “Then it’s your testimony you received no gifts from Bill Allen?”

“That is correct,” Mr. Stevens said.

Mr. Stevens has testified that his wife, Catherine, was paying the bills for the renovation while he was in Washington.

Mrs. Stevens testified last week that she wrote checks for $160,000 to contractors and retailers for home renovations. She agreed with her husband’s testimony that he was unaware of the value of the work and whether his wife paid all the bills.

Prosecutors said $250,000 of the renovation was paid by Allen. They also have said Mr. Stevens knew more about the extent of Allen’s contribution than he is willing to admit.

Mr. Stevens said he omitted the home renovations inadvertently from his financial disclosure forms, which were prepared by “a whole series of people” that included staff members and accountants.

“The forms require your attention, is that correct?” Ms. Morris asked.

“Yes,” Mr. Stevens said.

Brendan Sullivan, defense attorney for Mr. Stevens, responded to the prosecution’s allegations by mentioning e-mails and letters the senator wrote asking Allen and a contractor on the home renovation for bills on the work.

When he did not receive the bills, he said he assumed his wife paid them. “Catherine paid for the work at our house,” he said. “She paid all the bills she received and that’s all there was to it.”

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