The Hill reports that the jury has returned guilty verdicts on all seven felony counts for Ted Stevens of making false statements on financial-disclosure forms about his relationship with Veco, an Alaskan oil company. Each count carries a potential five-year sentence, although the Republican Senator will have to wait four months to hear how much prison time he’ll have to serve:
The verdict was reached after the jury deliberated since Wednesday and found the 84-year-old senator guilty of failing to report more than $250,000 in gifts from Bill Allen, the former head of Veco Corp., and other friends. …
The jury did not seem to buy the explanation from Stevens that Allen showered him with gifts he didn’t want and was unaware of, and that he believed the $160,000 he gave to another contractor covered all costs for the home renovations.
How much time will that mean? The judge could stack the sentences consecutively for a 35-year term, but that seems unlikely. He will probably get as much prison time as Scooter Libby got for his convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice, although Stevens’ seven counts may force the judge to up the ante. Given Stevens’ age and his status as a non-offender prior to this conviction, I’d guess somewhere between 24 and 36 months.
Where does that leave the Republicans? Up a creek in terms of their Senate race in Alaska. The GOP did not do much to deter Stevens from running for re-election, and the primary gave him a relatively easy win. It’s far too late to find a replacement, so the Democrats get an easy pick-up for that seat. And, quite frankly, the Republicans deserve to lose it for not doing a better job of defeating Stevens in the primary.
When we talk about the corrosively corrupting nature of pork, this is exactly what we mean. (via The Corner)