Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens pleaded not guilty today in federal court in Washington to seven counts of corruption, the Anchorage Daily News reports. At his lawyers' request, the judge set a tentative trial date of Sept. 24, more than 5 weeks before the Nov. 4 general election. He'll rule on the defense team's request to move the trial to Alaska on Aug. 19.
"I can appreciate why the senator would like to have this matter commence and concluded before the election," said the judge. Stevens did not speak during the proceeding. Celebrity defense attorney Brendan Sullivan entered his plea. "He'd like to clear his name before the election," Sullivan said. "This is not a complex case. It should be one that moves quickly."