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US Senator Pleads Not Guilty to Lying on Financial Statements

A leading U.S. Republican Party senator has pleaded not guilty to charges he lied about hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from an oil services company.

Ted Stevens of Alaska entered the plea Thursday at a federal court in Washington.

Stevens has been indicted on seven felony counts of making false statements on financial disclosure forms mandatory for U.S. senators.

Prosecutors say Stevens did not report $250,000 in gifts and services he received from an oil services company (VECO) whose executives have pleaded guilty to bribing lawmakers in the senator's home state.

The U.S. Justice Department alleges that while he was receiving the gifts, Stevens was asked by the company to do certain things in his position as a U.S. senator. However, the indictment does not charge Stevens with bribery.

Stevens is one of the longest serving senators in U.S. history. He has been a senator since 1968 and has long been a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. The 84-year-old politician is up for re-election in November.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.