A federal judge denied Sen. Ted Stevens' request to move his corruption trial to Alaska, tying the 84-year-old Alaska Republican to a Washington courtroom at the height of his re-election campaign 3,500 miles away.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan decided Wednesday to keep the trial in Washington on an accelerated schedule. He offered to take Fridays off so Stevens could go to Alaska to campaign on weekends, but the senator's lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, was lukewarm to the idea, especially if it means a slower verdict.
Stevens asked for – and received – a speedy trial so he could go to court before the Nov. 4 election. Jury selection is to begin Sept. 22, and the trial is to start two days later. It's expected to last four weeks.
Stevens faces seven felony counts of knowingly taking home repairs and gifts worth over $250,000 from the oil services company Veco Corp. and failing to report them on his annual Senate disclosure forms from 2001 through 2006. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison on each count.
Stevens was in Alaska on Wednesday campaigning for the Senate seat he has held since 1968. On Tuesday, he's expected to beat six rivals in a Republican primary.