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Judge: Stevens trial will be 'fast but fair'

WASHINGTON -- The judge overseeing Sen. Ted Stevens' case laid out the ground rules for the Alaska Republican's Sept. 24 trial, when he'll face felony charges he knowingly took gifts from an oil services company and failed to report them.

Stevens has asked to have the trial moved to Alaska and will have a hearing next week to make that request to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. The judge held a short hearing today to outline how the lawyers will pick a jury next month and handle motions in the case.

Stevens, 84, pleaded not guilty last week to seven counts of failing to disclose more than $250,000 in home repairs and gifts that investigators say he received from Bill Allen, the former chief of oil services company Veco Corp.

The trial has an accelerated timetable at Stevens' request. Stevens, who is up for re-election, asked for a speedy trial so he would have the opportunity to clear his name before the Nov. 4 general election.

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