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Senator Ted Stevens Found Guilty of Lying About Gifts

27 October 2008

U.S. Senator Ted Stevens has been found guilty on seven charges of lying about gifts he received.

U.S. Senator Ted Stevens

A jury in Washington convicted Stevens Monday after a month-long trial. He faces a maximum 35 years in prison, but federal sentencing guidelines could allow him a much shorter sentence, or even probation.

The 84-year-old Republican senator from Alaska was charged with seven counts of making false statements on Senate financial disclosure forms.

Prosecutors said he failed to report $250,000 in gifts from an oil contractor, including improvements on his Alaska home.

The senator testified that he paid for the home-improvement services.

Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate, is still eligible for re-election next week even as a convicted felon.

He is in a tight race with Democrat Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage - Alaska's largest city.

Alaska home

Stevens had pushed for a speedy trial in hopes of being ruled innocent before election day November 4.

It will be up to the Senate to decide if he must leave office. He can be expelled only if two-thirds of the senators approve the move.

This is the first time a U.S. Senator has been found guilty of a felony while in office since 1981, when a Democrat from the state of New Jersey, Harrison Williams, was convicted of bribery and conspiracy. He resigned from the Senate before senators could vote on expulsion.

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