Stevens Used Oil Firm as 'Handyman': Prosecutors
In opening statement, defense touts honesty
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2008 4:24 PM CDT
In this artist's rendering, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, third from left, listens during the opening day of his trial in federal court in Washington today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Prosecutors say Republican Sen. Ted Stevens deliberately failed to disclose gifts from an Alaska oil company, including $240,000 in home renovations and a $2,700 massage chair, the Los Angeles Times reports. “Veco acted as his own personal handyman service,” the prosecution said in the opening arguments of Stevens’ corruption trial today in Washington. “If the defendant needed an electrician, he would contact Veco.”

But the defense claims that the 84-year-old Republican didn’t even know the company was renovating his Alaska home, the Hill adds: “They are lucky to spend 20 days a year in that residence.” Stevens’s lawyers will also bring in several high-powered senators to vouch for his character. “You’ll learn a lot about the man himself,” the lawyer said.