Ted Stevens (R-AK), the senior Republican in the Senate, today became the latest Rep elected official who has been convicted of crimes committed while in public office.
From CNN.com -
A jury found U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska guilty Monday of all seven counts in his federal corruption trial.
The jury found Stevens guilty of "knowingly and willfully" scheming to conceal on Senate disclosure forms more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts from an Alaska-based oil industry contractor.
The senator could be sentenced to anything ranging from probation to 35 years in prison (5 years for each of the 7 counts). Sentencing was put off until early next year by the judge in the case.
Personally, I don't expect Stevens to ever see the inside of a prison cell. He's 84 and the inevitable appeals of the verdict will take most of the few years he has left. In addition, he was convicted of non-violent crimes and has no prior record.
The only pertinent question left is - will Stevens lose to Mark Begich next week, will he resign from office regardless of the outcome of the election, or will the Senate expel him for his crimes?
The early line on those three possibilities? "Very possible" (the latest poll numbers are a statistical dead heat), "snowball's chance in Phoenix" (Stevens doesn't think that taking a gift and lying about it is wrong), and "your guess is as good as mine" (it depends on how pissed off the surviving Rep senators are and if they want to take out their frustrations on Stevens).
My guess is that the leaders of both parties in the Senate want Begich to defeat Stevens. That would be less embarrassing than having to kick one of their own out of the most exclusive club in America.
Silver lining note (for Alaskans, anyway :) ) - The felony conviction means that Stevens won't be able to pose for the de rigeur election day photo of the candidate casting his ballot for himself. :))