WASHINGTON – Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens pleaded not guilty to corruption charges Thursday and received an unusually speedy trial date, which he hopes will clear his name before voters consider re-electing him in November.
Stevens said the tentative Sept. 24 trial date set by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan “should allow ample time for a decision before the general election” in November.
“I am looking forward to this trial as a way of finally showing the truth – that I’m innocent,” the 40-year Senate veteran said in a written statement Thursday evening.
“He’d like to clear his name before the election,” Stevens’ attorney, Brendan Sullivan, told the judge.
The Justice Department accuses Stevens of lying on congressional disclosure documents about more than $250,000 in gifts and home renovations he received over seven years from a powerful oil field services contractor.
Stevens, 84, also asked that the trial be moved from Washington to Alaska. The judge said he was not likely to send the case to Alaska.