by Jill Burke
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
WASHINGTON -- A Girdwood restaurant owner and good friend of Sen. Ted Stevens took the stand Wednesday on behalf of the senator.
Bob Persons, owner of the Double Musky Inn, was brought up by the defense to refute strong statements made by the government's star witness, Bill Allen.
On the stand, Persons explained how he first met Stevens 25 years ago.
Stevens had come to Persons' restaurant for dinner, and that's where their friendship began.
He landed as a figure in Stevens' criminal trial because he watched over the senator's home renovations.
Stevens' defense team used its turn with Persons to soften powerful statements brought in earlier in the case by prosecutors.
The first attempted reversal was to show that Allen, the former VECO CEO, may be a liar.
Allen told jurors when he pushed to address the senator's desire to pay for things, Persons told him, "Don't worry about getting a bill, Ted's just covering his ass."