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Stevens’ Attorneys Move for Dismissal

Attorneys for Sen. Ted Stevens (R) filed several motions Thursday seeking to dismiss federal felony charges against the Alaskan, asserting that the government’s actions violate the Constitution’s “Speech or Debate” clause, as well as separation of powers.

Stevens was indicted in late July on seven counts of filing false financial statements over an eight-year period to conceal more than $250,000 in gifts.

Stevens is set to face trial on Sept. 22.

In documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Stevens attorney Brendan Sullivan asserted that the indictment violates the “Speech or Debate” clause because it asserts that Stevens “did use his official position on behalf of VECO,” an Alaskan oil field services firm.

“These allegations apparently involve Senator Stevens’ legislative actions, votes and decisions. As framed, therefore, Count I of the indictment could only be proven, and defended, with evidence of how Senator Stevens ‘acted, voted, or decided’ as a legislator — in direct violation of the Speech or Debate Clause,” Sullivan wrote.

In addition, Sullivan filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the government’s prosecution violates the separation of powers.

“[O]nly the Senate may discipline a Senator for violating Senate rules, and Congress cannot delegate that authority to the Executive Branch. This prosecution therefore cannot proceed and the indictment should be dismissed,” Sullivan wrote.

Sullivan also filed a motion seeking to dismiss the indictment on the grounds it is “unconstitutionally vague,” asserting that the government did not fully detail the gifts Stevens allegedly received.

According to the government’s seven-count indictment, the majority of the gifts Stevens received from the VECO corporation and its former executives included repairs to his Alaska home, appliances, a tool chest and an automobile for one of his dependent children.

Stevens has asserted that he paid for the renovations to his home and pleaded not guilty to all seven counts at his arraignment earlier this month.

In addition, Sullivan offered a motion to strike one paragraph from the indictment that states that Stevens or his staff received solicitations from VECO and its employees during the same period he was allegedly receiving gifts from the corporation.

Noting that the Senator was not charged under the bribery statue, Sullivan wrote that the paragraph is “blatantly inflammatory and prejudicial, and it is wholly immaterial to the charges.”

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