Industry group hails Ted Stevens' speech

Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Former Sen. Ted Stevens received a standing ovation at a speech to the Alaska Industry Support Alliance, one of his first public appearances since leaving Congress.

He told the group Thursday in Anchorage that business must organize to fight extreme environmentalists who would prevent Alaska from developing oil, gas and coal reserves.

He told The Anchorage Daily News he's as busy as he was when he was a senator. But he's not talking yet about the corruption charges that were thrown out after he lost his re-election bid.

Stevens, 85, ran last year under the shadow of a long-running corruption investigation. A week before the election, he was found guilty by a jury in Washington, D.C., of failing to disclose gifts from Bill Allen, chief executive of oil-field contractor Veco Corp.

Charges against Stevens were thrown out in April when the Justice Department admitted it failed to turn over favorable evidence to his lawyers. Now the prosecutors and perhaps some FBI agents are under investigation by the Justice Department and a special prosecutor looking into possible criminal contempt.

"I don't think it's time to talk about that yet," Stevens said.

Stevens says his health is good. He and his wife Catherine are heading off on a 10-day vacation trip for her birthday.

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