From The Hill
A U.S district court judge said Thursday that Sen. Ted Stevens's (R-Alaska) criminal case could be wrapped up before the end of October while announcing an expedited schedule for jury selection.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan indicated that 150 potential jurors could be contacted as early as this week and that jury selection would begin Sept. 23. That process could last two days, but the trial could begin as soon as Sept. 24.
"What we don't have is a lot of time between now and the commencement of the trial," Sullivan said, adding that the case would take "approximately four weeks."
Under that scenario, a jury might have enough time to offer a verdict before Election Day, when Stevens is seeking his seventh full Senate term. The longest-serving Republican senator has pleaded not guilty to charges of allegedly concealing more than $250,000 worth of gifts from an oil-services company.
Stevens missed Thursday's procedural hearing at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, campaigning instead in Alaska, where he faces six primary challengers on Aug. 26. If he wins, the 84-year-old Stevens would face 46-year-old Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich in the general election.
The judge is expected to rule on Stevens' motion
to hold the trial in Alaska rather than Washington at an August 20 hearing.