September 22, 2008

Jury Selection to Begin in Stevens Trial

U.S. Sen. Ted. Stevens, R-Alaska, facing a tough re-election campaign, must first face a possibly tougher electorate in his corruption trial in Washington.

The trial, with jury selection scheduled for Monday, was expedited at the request of Stevens, who has said he hopes to clear his name before the November election, CNN reported. The 84-year-old Republican, who has pleaded innocent, hasn't stopped campaigning since his indictment was announced during the summer.

Stevens was indicted in July on seven counts of making false statements on his Senate disclosure forms from 1999-2006. Prosecutors accused Stevens of receiving "substantial amounts of materials and labor" from oil services contractor VECO Corp. in the renovation of his home in Alaska.

He allegedly received furniture, household goods and, in an automobile exchange, received "new vehicle worth far more than" the vehicle he swapped. The worth of the materials and services is "greater than $250,000," prosecutors said.

Stevens, the longest serving Republican in the Senate, is running for a seventh full term in the Senate in November.