The Daily Muck


Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) was accused earlier in his federal corruption trial of throwing his wife under the bus. (“When it comes to things in and around the teepee, the wife controls,” his lawyer told the jury to explain his client’s ignorance of VECO’s billing.) Yesterday, lawyers wrangled over the prosecutors’ demand for more of her documents. We’ll hear from the lucky lady herself later in the week. (AP)

Tight races seem to attract lawsuits. The latest example comes from Washington, where two former Democratic justices have subpoenaed GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi, in a suit against the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), which spends heavily on GOP candidates. The justices, who are supporters of Democratic governor Christine Gregoire, want to prove that BIAW coordinated illegally with Rossi’s campaign in planning spending on his behalf. Rossi, who lost his 2004 bid to Gregoire by 133 votes, and is in a tight re-match with her with this year, says the suit is intended to keep him off the campaign trail. Mailed ballots must be in on Friday, the same day he’s been called in to testify. (AP)

A California paper has obtained documents relating to the purchase by top McCain contributor Donald R. Diamond, an Arizona businessman and D.C. lobbyist, of part of a former Army base, valued at $7.2 million, while McCain served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Turns out Diamond shelled out $250,000 and walked away two years later with $18 million. The story follows up on an earlier New York Times report, which suggested that McCain’s willingness to smooth the way for well-connected constituents didn’t disappear after the Keating Five scandal. The 80-year-old Diamond explained to the Times that he wanted a return on his investment: “”I want my money back, for Christ’s sake. Do you know how many cocktail parties I have to go to?””(Santa Cruz Sentinel)A Michigan court sided yesterday with the ACLU and college students in a voting rules dispute, one of many cases brought this season as some states have adopted restrictive interpretations of federal voting laws, which could put obstacles in the path of large numbers of voters. The judge ordered election officials to stop striking voters from lists if their card is returned in the mail. Some 1,400 could be affected by the ruling. (AP)

Appeals court judge Jan Patterson, a Democrat, has accused her colleague, the court’s chief justice and a Republican, of not filing Patterson’s dissent in a decision related to the money-laundering trial of two of Tom DeLay’s associates. Prosecutors had sought to switch judges for the trial, citing statement made by the judge which seemed to downplay the significance of the case. But the move was turned down in a decision made by the Texas Third Court of Appeals — though Patterson says her dissent to that decision was never filed. The report sheds light on judicial infighting in an already politically charged case. (Austin American Statesman)

Testimony starts today in a federal fraud case that has drawn a swirl of Louisiana pols, including Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), into its orbit and already produced one guilty plea. In this case, Jefferson and his sister, Betty Jefferson, a local government official, are unindicted co-conspirators, but the pair faces federal charges in another suit. (Times-Picayune)

Rhonda McBride, one of Sarah Palin’s advisers on Alaska’s rural affairs stepped down yesterday, saying she had “never felt authentic” in her position, which traditionally goes to Natives. Critics say Palin has a spotty record of hiring Natives, who make up 20 percent of her state’s population but occupy only two spots in her 13-person cabinet. And did you know that Todd Palin is part Eskimo? (AP)

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