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Stevens Case Could Go to Jury Next Week

The judge in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said Tuesday that he anticipates the jury will begin deliberations early next week.

Stevens is accused of accepting more than $250,000 worth of renovations and other home improvements from Bill Allen, who was the chief executive officer of the oil services company VECO. The government alleges that since Stevens never paid Allen or VECO, he was required to report these upgrades as gifts on his annual disclosure forms.

The trial adjourned early Tuesday when the judge agreed to accept motions on whether the carpenter who worked on Stevens’ home should be allowed to complete his testimony. The carpenter is expected to testify that Bill Allen told him to “eat” one of the invoices the carpenter had provided for the Stevens; the government has raised objections to this testimony based on detailed rules of evidence.

Stevens’ lawyers said they still expect to call five more witnesses, including Stevens and his wife, Catherine, and the government said it plans to call three rebuttal witnesses.

Judge Emmet Sullivan said it was unlikely that testimony could be done before Thursday afternoon, and he is not inclined to give instructions and closing arguments to a jury on a Friday.

“In all likelihood there will be [closing] argument Monday, and instructions and then deliberation,” the judge said, although he acknowledged that it could be Tuesday before the case goes to the jury.

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