Leahy Didn't Expect to Appear on Witness List at Stevens Trial

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday said last month's revelation that he could be a witness during Sen. Ted Stevens's (R-Alaska) corruption trial was news to him.

Leahy said he learned from media coverage that he could be called to testify on Stevens's behalf, and that the Alaska Republican's attorneys did not notify him beforehand. That is a marked difference from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who told The Hill last month that he had been told of his potential testimony. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) was also mentioned by Judge Emmet Sullivan as a potential witness, but that surprised few observers since Inouye and Stevens have been decades-long friends.

It's no guarantee, however, that Leahy will testify. Though his name was mentioned during the jury selection phase, Stevens's lawyer Brendan Sullivan didn't mention Leahy during his opening argument.

Leahy said Wednesday he had no idea if he would be a character witness or an evidentiary witness, although he noted he has known Stevens for 34 years.

"Nobody's talked to me one way or the other," Leahy said. "I read that in the papers. I had no idea. I suspect they put down every single name they could think of. I mean, I'm a friend of 99 senators."

-J. Taylor Rushing