Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Prosecution to Nowhere (The End)

The long strange saga of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (R - The Tubes) is almost to an end. You'll recall last year that Stevens was indicted on federal corruption charges while seeking reelection. Rather than try to drag out proceedings past the election, Stevens (perhaps foolishly) pressed for a speedy trial that he thought would clear his name in time for the votes to be cast.

It didn't work that way. Stevens was convicted, right before election day, and lost his long held seat in the Senate. At the time, he claimed that the Government had played all sorts of games with evidence in his case and that he had been wrongly convicted. Post trial proceedings bore that out, to the point that the judge reamed out several prosecutors in open court.

Now, it's been announced that the Government will move the court to overturn the conviction and dismiss the indictment (via TalkLeft):

In a statement, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said he and other Justice lawyers had reviewed the case and 'concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial.'

'In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial,' Holder said.
It's rare any time the Government admits it screwed up and tries to make things right, so kudos to Holder and crew for doing that. Still, as Jonathan Turley points out, it comes just before the court itself was about the lower the boom on the Government, so maybe it's just a matter of beating the judge to the punch.

I was never a fan of Stevens. But nobody deserves to be prosecuted in the way he was, even ones political foes.

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