An employee of the federal government has made accusations of misconduct by prosecutors and investigators involved in the case of Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, who was convicted in October of making false statements.
An order issued by Judge Emmett Sullivan requires the prosecutors to release on Monday afternoon a redacted version of the complaint, which had previously been the subject of sealed motions and hearings with prosecutors seeking to keep it secret and defense attorneys pushing for its releases.
It’s the latest twist in a case that has already included accusations of prosecutorial misconduct and an unusual amount of post-trial activity, included a letter sent to the judge from a witness claiming he committed perjury and prosecutors knew it.
Stevens, 85, was convicted on seven felony counts of failing to include on Senate financial disclosure forms more than $250,000 in gifts and renovations to his Girdwood, Ala., home. Stevens, who lost reelection in November after 40 years in the Senate, is awaiting sentencing.
The most recent accusations, described by prosecutors as a “self-styled whistleblower complaint,” contains allegations already made during the trial, according to Judge Sullivan’s ruling. Those included accusations that prosecutors purposely withheld evidence from the defense — which the judge agreed was true but wasn’t serious enough to warrant dismissing the case.
In at least one new allegation, an investigator ” ‘accepted multiple things of value’ from sources cooperating with the investigation, including artwork and employment for a relative.”
Judge Sullivan noted the irony of that accusation, pointing out in his ruling “that the defendant in this case was convicted for failing to disclose that he had accepted multiple things of value and, in fact, the trial included testimony about his receipt of artwork and employment for a relative.”
But he went on to write, “whether the allegation in the complaint is true and, if true, whether it bears on the outcome of the trial remains to be seen.”
The complaint was made Dec. 2 to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The name of the person who made the complaint has been redacted from court documents, but is described as “a federal employee with extensive knowledge of the investigation and trial in this case.”
Prosecutors argued against revealing the complaint for several reasons, including that the individuals named in the complaint did not testify at trial, and the issues involving disclosing evidence to the defense had already been handled at the trial.
The judge, who has frequently been critical of prosecutors, said their argument “misses the mark.”
“It seems abundantly clear that providing public access to this complaint, which raises issues that question both the integrity of the proceedings and the law enforcement process in this case, is appropriate and, indeed, required,” he wrote.
Ben Conery is a member of the investigative team covering the Supreme Court and legal affairs. Prior to coming to The Washington Times in 2008, Mr. Conery covered criminal justice and legal affairs for daily newspapers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He was a 2006 recipient of the New England Newspaper Association’s Publick Occurrences Award for a series of articles about ...
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