WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A key prosecution witness in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens testified that the Alaska Republican asked for bills to cover himself from possible ethics charges
But Bill Allen, head of the now-defunct VECO Corp., testified Wednesday he ignored Stevens request when a go-between told him, "Ted's just covering his ass," CNN reported.
Stevens has pleaded innocent to seven felony charges of failing to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts and renovations done to his home in Alaska on Senate disclosure forms. The trial is being conducted in Washington.
Allen read a note that Stevens had written him, saying, "You owe me a bill. ... Friendship is one thing, compliance with ethics rules is another. I asked Bob (Persons) to talk with you about this. ... It just has to be done right."
Allen testified Persons said, "'Aw, Bill, don't worry about getting a bill, Ted's just covering his ass.'"
Allen said he asked Stevens' help with public policy issues VECO was pushing, The Hill reported. Stevens is not charged with delivering legislative action in return for the gifts, but the government said Allen's requests were examples as reasons about why Stevens decided not to report the gifts and renovations he allegedly received from VECO.
Stevens, the longest-serving Senate Republican and who is seeking re-election, faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Allen faces up to 11 years in jail after pleading guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges, He agreed to cooperate with the government investigation into corruption in Alaska.