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Stevens doesn't have to be at trial daily

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK, arrives at federal court for jury selection for the trial of U.S. v. Stevens in Washington on September 22, 2008. Sen. Stevens was indicted on July 29 on seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms by failing to disclose more than $250, 000 worth of gifts and services that he received while serving in the Senate. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg)
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK, arrives at federal court for jury selection for the trial of U.S. v. Stevens in Washington on September 22, 2008. Sen. Stevens was indicted on July 29 on seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms by failing to disclose more than $250, 000 worth of gifts and services that he received while serving in the Senate. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A federal judge granted a waiver to U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, to miss court days for Senate business, warning his absence could leave a bad impression.

Tuesday was the second day of jury selection in the corruption trial of the Senate's longest-serving Republican. Stevens, who is seeking re-election in November, pleaded not guilty to seven felony counts of making false statements.

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When granting the waiver, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan noted Stevens's absence could be interpreted erroneously, The Hill reported.

"We don't want to have any negative impressions going on," Sullivan said. "People reach the wrong impressions for the wrong reasons."

Stevens' attorney said he thought the potential for his client missing court appearances wouldn't last long since the Senate is schedule to adjourn Friday.

Stevens, 84, is accused of failing to disclose in financial reports $250,000 in improvements at his Alaska home as well as other gifts. Stevens said he never intentionally violated the Senate reporting requirement.

The trial is being heard in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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