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Thread: U.S. to drop case against ex-Senator (Ted Stevens) from Alaska

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    Default U.S. to drop case against ex-Senator (Ted Stevens) from Alaska

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/us...=pol&emc=pola1

    Since all of you like to hate on Republicans. How's this for misconduct?

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    repost the article here pls, work has it blocked.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    April 2, 2009
    U.S. to Drop Case Against Ex-Senator From Alaska

    By NEIL A. LEWIS
    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department moved on Wednesday morning to drop all charges against former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who narrowly lost his seat last year shortly after being convicted on seven felony counts of ethics violations.
    In a stunning development, Justice Department lawyers told a federal court that they had discovered a new instance of prosecutorial misconduct in the case and asked that the convictions be voided. Attorney General Eric F. Holder Jr. said that in the interests of justice there would be no new trial in the case.
    Mr. Stevens, who is 85, had been the longest serving Republican in the history of the Senate. He had been charged with lying on Senate disclosure forms by concealing an estimated $250,000 worth of goods and services he received, mostly to renovate a chalet he owned in Alaska. Prosecutors said he received the bulk of the goods and services from Bill Allen, a longtime friend who had made a fortune by providing services to Alaska’s booming oil industry.
    But in their filing on Wednesday, government lawyers said that trial prosecutors had concealed from Mr. Stevens’s defense lawyers the notes from an interview with Mr. Allen that raised significant doubts about the charges. Among other things, Mr. Allen asserted in the interview that the work on the Stevens home was worth only about $80,000, they said.
    Mr. Stevens’s lawyers argued that he had been unaware of the help he received from Mr. Allen and did not intentionally conceal anything. Mr. Allen was the prosecution’s chief witness, and he provided forceful testimony aimed at demonstrating that Mr. Stevens was fully aware of the largesse he had received and even signaled he wanted it concealed.
    Attorney General Holder, who made the decision to move to drop the charges, said in a statement, “I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial.” He said it was “in the interests of justice” to dismiss the indictment and forgo a new trial.
    Mr. Stevens’s lawyers, Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr. and Robert M. Cary, welcomed the decision in a statement and praised Mr. Holder as “a pillar of integrity in the legal community.” The statement called the case “a sad story and a warning to everyone” that “any citizen can be convicted if prosecutors are hell-bent on ignoring the Constitution.”
    Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, praised Mr. Holder and said it “shows clearly that he is committed to the rule of law, regardless of politics.” A former prosecutor, Mr. Leahy was a frequent critic of the Justice Department during the Bush administration.
    Senator Mark Begich, the Democrat who defeated Mr. Stevens in November, issued a statement calling the Justice Department’s decision “reasonable.”
    “I always said I didn’t think Senator Stevens should serve time in jail, and hopefully this decision ensures that is the case,” said Mr. Begich, a former mayor of Anchorage. “It’s time for Senator Stevens, his family and Alaskans to move on and put this behind us.”
    Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said the episode was a tragedy for Mr. Stevens personally and a great setback for Senate Republicans. “We lost the seat,” Mr. McConnell said. “If this had been discovered and this action had been taken six months ago, Ted Stevens would still be in the Senate.”
    Mr. Stevens had risen to become one of the most powerful figures in Congress, helping to direct enormous sums of money to Alaska, whose history as a state virtually paralleled his career.
    Mr. Holder, a former prosecutor and judge, noted that the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility was conducting a review of the prosecutors’ conduct in the case, but that no conclusion had yet been reached.
    Even so, it appeared that some of the prosecutors who tried Mr. Stevens on ethics charges would now face ethics charges.
    Mr. Stevens had faced an almost certain prison term on the conviction. But Judge Emmet Sullivan had delayed imposing a sentence because of several previous disclosures of prosecutorial misconduct that were the basis for motions by Mr. Stevens’s lawyers to throw out the conviction. The judge repeatedly scolded prosecutors during the trial over a series of incidents in which they concealed important information from defense lawyers that might have been used by the defense.
    Judge Sullivan recently ordered that some of the government lawyers involved be held in contempt of court, including the two top officials of the Justice Department’s public integrity division, the section that prosecutes official corruption.
    In the new filing on Wednesday, which was first reported by National Public Radio, the government said that it had recently discovered previously undisclosed notes made by prosecutors of an interview with Mr. Allen on April 15, 2008. In the interview, Mr. Allen was asked about a note he received from Senator Stevens on Oct. 6, 2002, discussing the situation of former Senator Robert G. Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat who abruptly quit his 2002 re-election race amid accusations of ethical misconduct, including allegations that he failed to disclose gifts.
    The Justice Department said the notes from the interview showed that Mr. Allen made different statements about that exchange than he had during his testimony at the trial. Mr. Stevens’s lawyers should have had those notes to help them cross-examine Mr. Allen, the department said on Wednesday.
    The motion said that in addition to asking that the indictment be voided, the government had determined, based on the totality of the circumstances, that it would not seek a new trial of Mr. Stevens. The comment about the totality of the circumstances appeared to be a reference to issues like Mr. Stevens’s advanced age and the fact that he was defeated in his bid for an eighth term only days after the conviction which Justice Department officials now suggest was tainted.
    Judge Sullivan displayed his annoyance with the prosecutors’ conduct almost four weeks before Mr. Stevens was convicted. On Oct. 2, the judge almost declared a mistrial after discovering that prosecutors had not told the defense team about an F.B.I. interview with the prosecution’s chief witness.
    “How does the court have confidence that the public integrity section has public integrity?” Judge Sullivan asked that day.
    The chief prosecutor, Brenda Morris, apologized for her team’s mistakes. But she also called the errors careless, not purposeful.
    Then in February, an F.B.I. agent who had worked on the investigation disputed that characterization of events, accusing prosecutors and a fellow agent of willfully concealing evidence from Mr. Stevens’s lawyers.
    The agent, Chad Joy, wrote in the complaint that he had “witnessed or learned of serious violations of policy, rules, and procedures as well as possible criminal violations.”
    Days later, Judge Sullivan held Ms. Morris and two other members of the prosecuting team — William Welch, Patty Stemler and Kevin Driscoll — in contempt after the Justice Department failed to produce documents the judge had requested to assess Mr. Joy’s complaint. Mr. Driscoll who had just joined the case was later dropped from the contempt citation. Mr. Welch is the chief of the public integrity section and Ms. Morris is his deputy.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    procedural miscoduct warrants that case being dropped. Not sure why they can't start up a new one from scratch.
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    The U.S. has bigger fish to fry than Ted Stevens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    The U.S. has bigger fish to fry than Ted Stevens.
    They were willing to "fry" him to get their filibuster majorities in the Senate. Personally I wondered why they were so willing to go after this guy for his home renovations when there were other Senator receiving more egregious perks from their constituents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soogar View Post
    They were willing to "fry" him to get their filibuster majorities in the Senate. Personally I wondered why they were so willing to go after this guy for his home renovations when there were other Senator receiving more egregious perks from their constituents.
    Probably because Stevens was more blatant about what he was doing.

    Kind of like how Clinton blatantly lied about getting a blow job and got impeached. While Dubya blatantly lied to start a war, and got re-elected with no punishment. Life's just not fair.

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