Thursday, April 2, 2009

federal prosecutors stole at least one U.S. senator's seat

wow...

I'm not a big fan of the former senator, especially in terms of fiscal proclivities-- and I'm not sure whether he's truly (vs. legally) innocent-- but this shouldn't happen to anyone. (And if this also harmed others, wow...)

Here's the AP's Devlin Barrett and Nedra Pickler in the C-J...

Faced with embarrassing revelations about withheld evidence, the Justice Department on Wednesday moved to reverse the conviction of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who lost his bid for re-election just days after a jury found that he had lied about gifts and home renovations.

Justice Department lawyers asked a judge to dismiss the indictment against Stevens and toss out his conviction - effectively killing their own courtroom victory with a shocking admission of misbehavior by prosecutors.

The Stevens case, the government's highest-profile attack on congressional corruption in recent years, was plagued by problems that continued to pile up even after a jury found him guilty. The last straw, apparently, was the failure of prosecutors to turn over notes of a crucial interview in which a witness contradicted a statement he made later under oath at trial....

Stevens is expected to be back in court Tuesday when U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan holds a hearing on the government request. Stevens had appealed his conviction and had been awaiting sentencing....

While reaction in the Senate was muted, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, called the whole episode grossly unfair.

"I am deeply disturbed that the government can ruin a man's career and then say, 'Never mind.' There is nothing that will ever compensate for the loss of his reputation or leadership to the state of Alaska," Murkowski said....

William Canfield, a former Stevens staffer and longtime friend, said some of the trial's effects may never be undone. Specifically, he said, at least one Senate colleague - John Sununu of New Hampshire - lost his bid for re-election after Stevens' legal problems became a campaign issue...

1 Comments:

At April 4, 2009 at 8:00 AM , Blogger Don Sherfick said...

Like you, I'm not big fan of the former Senator from Alaska, but troubled by what appears to be significant prosecutorial misconduct (or at least gross incompetence. Yet a jury of peers weighed evidence (one can argue about its ultimate quality) and determined guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

As to unscrambling election results, I don't seen anyway out of the thicket. If we start saying (in retrospect) "but for this that would have happened", we have to reopen literally every campaign charge that proved not to be true (whatever that may mean under the First Amendment) and try to weigh whether or not it would have made a difference.

That would make Bush vs. Gore look like a traffic court decision.

 

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