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Tag: injustice

Commentary: Justice Failed to Deliver Justice in the Sen. Stevens Trial

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The case against Sen. Ted Stevens was supposed to be an easy one. Clean. No complications.

No need to prove bribery, just that the curmudgeonly Senator, who was known for wheeling and dealing, had lied on financial disclosure forms by failing to report $250,000 in free gifts and renovations to his Alaska home.

Instead, it turned into a nightmare and an embarrassing one at that for the Justice Department.

First off the trial was a mess.  Time after time, the defense complained about the prosecutions’ failure to turn over  evidence it was required to, or properly handle witnesses.  

 U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan admonished the prosecution repeatedly  and at one point said he had no confidence in their ability to give Stevens a fair trial.  Not good.

 The judge only seemed to get angrier.  Meanwhile, over at Main Justice, some folks saw the mess unfolding and worried that the prosecution team would blow this high profile case involving a powerful Senator. Bringing down a senator is not taken lightly over there.

Miraculously, in October, there was a conviction, which was more a  testmonial to the simplicity of the case rather than the execution by the prosecution. 

 In post-trial proceedings, things got worse.  Judge Sullivan held three prosecutors in contempt for failing to follow a court order.  And an FBI agent filed an affidavit in court accusing another FBI agent of misconduct during the investigation.

    Could there have been more missteps?

    It became clearer and clearer that the government, if not the judge, would have no choice but to call for a new trial or outright dismiss the case.

   On Wednesday, the Justice Department moved to do the right thing and filed a motion to erase the conviction and drop the case all together. The embarrassment and injustice proved to be too much. A hearing on the matter is set for Tuesday.

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