Feds Drop Case Against Former Alaska Sen. Ben Stevens
By Channing Turner | August 11, 2022 10:45 am

Former Alaska Senate president Ben Stevens (R), son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), has been told federal prosecutors will not bring charges against him in a rapidly fading political corruption probe, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Anonymous sources told the Daily News that Stevens received a letter from Justice Department prosecutors saying that the long-running investigation has concluded without an indictment.

Stevens was one of several state legislators who allegedly received bribes from Bill Allen and Rick Smith, officials with the Alaska-based oil pipeline company Veco Corp.

The department’s Public Integrity Section in Washington had handled his investigation, but the administration also decided to have prosecutor Kent Robinson at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Portland, Ore., conduct an independent review.

Neither Robinson nor any of Stevens’ attorneys would comment for this story.

Stevens fell under suspicion when he revealed that, while at the legislature, Veco paid him $243,250 between 2002 and 2006 for undisclosed “consulting” work.

Then, during the 2007 trial of former Alaska House Speaker Pete Kott (R), Smith testified that he offered bribes to Stevens and Republican state Sen. John Cowdery. Cowdery has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2008.

Federal authorities also investigated Stevens for hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to him by fishing interests that benefited from legislation promoted by his father in Congress.

But a three-judge appellate panel threw out Kott’s conviction earlier this year, saying that prosecutors withheld crucial evidence from defense attorneys. And the related conviction of state Rep. Victor Kohring (R) was thrown out for the same reason. Both face retrials later this year.

Ted Stevens was also indicted in 2008 and found guilty for failing to report money given to him from Veco. But the Justice Department moved to dismiss those charges in 2009 after failing to turn over evidence to defense attorneys that would have helped Stevens.

The prosecution and lead FBI agent in that case faced allegations of misconduct for the episode. Two of the prosecutors, Brenda K. Morris and William Welch II, are still seeking relief from a contempt of court finding against them.

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