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» October 10, 2008
With character witnesses like this guy you know you're going to get off the hook:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Friday praised Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' sense of honor at his trial on corruption charges, calling his reputation for honesty and integrity "sterling" in the quarter-century they've known each other. "As we say in the infantry, this is a guy you take on a long patrol," said the retired four-star Army general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
[W]hen defense attorney Brendan Sullivan asked Powell to describe Stevens' reputation for honesty and integrity, Powell's answer was simple: "In a word, sterling."
"There was never any suggestion that he would do anything that was improper," said Powell, who told jurors he knows Stevens "extremely well" after having worked with him on military appropriations issues for decades.
Stevens has always been honest and upfront — "someone whose word you can rely on"— when he worked with him on Capitol Hill, Powell said.
"I had a guy who would tell me when I was off base," Powell said. "I had a guy who would tell me when I had no clothes on." And as people in the courtroom started to chuckle, Powell smiled and added, "Figuratively."
Powell added that Stevens has always put his country first, even when Powell had to go to him to explain that the military needed to draw down some of the forces in Alaska. Stevens didn't like the idea, Powell said, but listened to the arguments and finally agreed to support it for the good of the country.
"He fights for his state, he fights for his people but he always has the interests of his country at heart," Powell said.