Huffpost Politics

Witness In Ted Stevens Trial: I Regret Testifying

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WASHINGTON — A witness in convicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' corruption trial has told the judge he never would have testified if he'd known he did not have immunity from prosecution.

"I would like to be perfectly clear ... I would have pleaded the Fifth," welder David Anderson said in a Dec. 15 letter to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan. Anderson was referring to his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

The letter was made public Tuesday in papers from Stevens' lawyers, who have asked Sullivan to hold a hearing on Anderson's charges and to let them investigate. It was unclear when Sullivan would rule.

Anderson says he thought he had an immunity agreement with the Justice Department, even though he tetsified during the trial that he did not have such a deal. The Justice Department previously has said the government never made any agreement of immunity with Anderson or for any of his family or friends.

Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined further comment Tuesday.

Stevens, 85 and the Senate's longest-serving Republican, was convicted in late October on seven felony counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure forms to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and home renovations from millionaire businessman and VECO Corp. founder Bill Allen, who is Anderson's uncle.

The senator, who is scheduled to be sentenced next year, has said he will appeal. He lost his Senate seat to Democrat Mark Begich in the November election.

Anderson's allegation is the latest against the Justice Department since Stevens' conviction.

An FBI agent, in a heavily redacted letter released Monday, complained about some of the department's tactics during the trial, including not turning over evidence to the defense and an "inappropriate relationship" between a government representative and the prosecution's star witness.

Stevens' lawyers on Monday asked Sullivan to throw out the conviction or order a new trial because of the allegations. Sullivan has not yet responded to their request.

Anderson supervised the start of the 2000 renovation of Stevens' Girdwood, Alaska, home and later responded to maintenance requests by Stevens and his wife. Anderson complained in an earlier letter to the judge that he thought he had an immunity agreement with the Justice Department for himself, his family and friends.

"I discuss the fact that I would have pleaded the Fifth had I have known that an agreement had not been made for immunity," Anderson said in the most recent letter. "I would like to be perfectly clear ... I would have pleaded the Fifth."

Anderson also told Sullivan that he had told an Alaska reporter about the immunity deal, and accused the government of trying to cover up a plot by Allen to have him killed.