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Alaska senator convicted in federal corruption case

Text by REUTERS

Latest update : 2008-10-27

Ted Stevens, the U.S. Senate's longest-serving Republican, was found guilty on seven counts of lying to hide $250,000 in gifts from the head of an oil services company.

U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was found guilty on Monday on corruption charges, a verdict that could endanger the powerful Republican's political future and help Democrats expand their control of the Senate in the Nov. 4 election.the Senate's longest-serving Republican with 40 years in office and faces a close re-election race next week for another six-year term.

 

Stevens, 84, was found guilty on all seven counts of lying on Senate disclosure forms to hide more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts from the head of Alaska oil services company VECO Corp.

 

Stevens, who had maintained his innocence, declined to comment when he left the courthouse.

 

He faces up to five years in prison on each of the seven counts, but under federal sentencing guidelines he would likely receive much less prison time or just get probation.

 

A member of the Senate for 40 years, Stevens was a popular figure in Alaska before the trial but is now locked in a tight re-election battle with Anchorage mayor Mark Begich.

 

The loss of Stevens' seat could help Democrats control 60 seats in the 100-seat chamber, enough to overcome potential Republican roadblocks.

 

He was the first sitting senator to go on trial since 1981, when New Jersey Democrat Harrison Williams was convicted for bribery.

 

 

Date created : 2008-10-27