Stevens paid defense lawyers at least $1 million

McClatchy NewspapersMay 14, 2009 

WASHINGTON — Former Sen. Ted Stevens spent at least $1 million on legal bills defending himself against charges he failed to report gifts, according to a final financial disclosure form filed this week with the U.S. Senate.

The Alaska Republican owes the Washington law firm Williams and Connolly between $1 million and $5 million for his defense, the forms show. The law firm represented Stevens in his corruption trial last fall.

In October, a jury found Stevens guilty of seven counts lying on financial disclosure forms about gifts, including renovations that doubled the size of his home in Girdwood, Alaska. But in April, a judge dismissed the jury's guilty finding and threw out the indictment, saying the Justice Department withheld evidence that might have been favorable to Stevens at trial.

The disclosure forms ask for a range, rather than an exact amount, so Stevens checked off the $1 million to $5 million box. The forms cover the year 2008. He also owes $50,000 to $100,000 to another Washington law firm, Utrecht and Phillips.

The information about what Stevens owes in legal bills was disclosed in the same disclosure paperwork that was at the heart of the corruption case against Stevens. It is the final disclosure form required of Stevens, who just days after his conviction lost his re-election bid to Democrat Mark Begich.

Stevens attached an unusual document to his final disclosure form, known as a termination report. In it, he notes that the Justice Department in its indictment and at trial took the position that "I either received gifts from Veco Corporation or others or owed money to the Veco Corporation or others."

The indictment was dismissed, Stevens notes, but he adds that he's "not in a position at this time to know what, if any, money I owe on account of work performed at my Girdwood home."

Stevens in September set up a legal expense fund with the Senate but never filed any disclosures to it. Since he's no longer a senator, the Senate Ethics Committee no longer requires him to submit such information.

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McClatchy Newspapers 2009

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