Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens Killed in Wilderness Plane Crash

86 year old Ted Stevens was among 5 people killed in a single-engine plane crash in a remote area east of Dillingham, AK late Monday.

Stevens was the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, taking office in December 1968 and leaving office in January 2009 after losing his re-election bid. Steven's seniority earned him enough clout where he was able to steer government and military spending towards his home state. Stevens was also responsible for lifting the cap on contract size for the Alaska Native Corporations established under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

The WWII Flying Tigers veteran left office under a cloud when he was found guilty of giving false statements in a Washington D.C federal court just days before the 2008 election. However, that conviction was later voided when it was learned prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence and testimony from the trial. The prosecutors and some of their witnesses were in turn investigated by the Justice Department for prosecutorial misconduct.

Stevens and six others- including former NASA chief Sean O'Keefe- were travelling to a fishing lodge in the remote western part of the state when the single-engine DeHavilland went down. Ironically, Stevens survived a 1978 plane crash that killed his first wife Ann and four other passengers. Stevens remarried in 1980 and had a daughter with his second wife Catherine.

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