Friend Fingers Stevens at Trial

Government's chief witness acknowledges giving inappropriate gifts to Alaska sen.
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 30, 2008 4:37 PM CDT
   (J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – A longtime friend of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens crossed the powerful lawmaker and testified today as the star witness in the Republican senator's gift-giving trial. The fiercely loyal Stevens did not acknowledge Bill Allen when he entered the courtroom. The two men barely looked at each other as Allen prepared to testify that he gave the senator $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts.

Stevens, 84, is on trial for not disclosing those gifts on Senate financial documents. "That's Ted, right over there," Allen said, pointing across the crowded courtroom. Allen is the linchpin of the case and federal prosecutors sought to bolster his credibility by asking about a backbreaking career that took him from picking crops to learning to weld to running Veco Corp., a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline company.