WASHINGTON – Even as Sen. Ted Stevens’ corruption trial nears an end, federal prosecutors are still asking for correspondence between the Alaska senator and his wife, Catherine, as well as e-mails she may have sent to 37 people connected to the couple’s home renovation and other gifts the senator may have received.
Stevens’ legal team filed a motion over the weekend asking that a judge intervene and prohibit the government from subpoenaing thousands of documents from Catherine Stevens’ law firm, Mayer Brown. They’re looking for conversations between her and anyone with a U.S. Senate e-mail address, as well as documents relating to anything of value given or provided to Stevens, his wife or his daughter Lily. That includes “any documents relating to diamond earrings,” according to the motion.
But Stevens’ legal team is reluctant to turn them over, accusing prosecutors of going on a fishing expedition and saying in their motion that a “more oppressive, nonspecific subpoena could hardly be imagined.”
The 84-year-old senator is on trial for lying on the Senate financial disclosure forms he’s required to file each year. He’s charged with accepting gifts and home renovations worth more than $250,000, chiefly from Veco Corp. and its former chief executive, Bill Allen, who was the star witness for the prosecution.
The renovations in 2000 and 2001 doubled the size of the Stevens’ home in Girdwood, transforming it from a small, A-frame cabin into a two-story retreat with multiple decks, a Jacuzzi tub and a Viking outdoor grill. Prosecutors have been laying out a case that much of the work, including the decks as well as plumbing and a complete electrical overhaul, was paid for by Veco.
Stevens’ trial, in its fourth week, is in the midst of the defense phase. Prosecutors rested their case last week, and his defense team began building a case that the senator was unaware that the renovations in question may have exceeded what he spent on it, an estimated $160,000. Several character witnesses, including former secretary of state Colin Powell, have also testified on Stevens’ behalf.
Stevens’ attorneys asked to quash the subpoena over the weekend after one of the prosecutors, Edward Sullivan, sent an e-mail asking for the documents the government had requested.