- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Federal prosecutors have filed a motion in a federal District court to set aside the verdict and dismiss the case against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who was convicted last year on corruption charges.

According to the five-page motion, prosecutors recently appointed to the case after repeated controversies about the original prosecution team, said the former team withheld information from defense attorneys about an interview questioning the veracity of star witness Bill Allen. This finding is the most recent in the case in which prosecutors failed to turn over evidence.

A judge has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday morning at which time he could dismiss the case.

Mr. Stevens, Republican, was convicted on seven felony counts of lying on Senate financial disclosures to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and home renovations from Mr. Allen, an Alaska oil magnate.

Prosecutors said in the filing that during an interview last year with Mr. Allen, he suggests he testified falsely during the trial about conversations he had with another witness, Bob Pearsons.

The motion also states Mr. Allen said during that interview that he did not remember discussions with Mr. Pearsons, a friend of Mr. Stevens.

But during the trial, Mr. Allen gave damaging testimony about a conversation with Mr. Pearsons that suggested Mr. Stevens, 85, knew he was doing something wrong.

Mr. Allen testified that Mr. Pearsons told him that Mr. Stevens had submitted bills for work on his home as a ruse to “cover” himself.

“It is in the interest of [the Justice Department] to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial,” Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday morning. The Justice Department conducted a review of the case.

Mr. Allen also said during the interview that, if done properly, the work at Mr. Stevens’ house should only have cost up to $80,000, much less than what prosecutors said at the trial that the work was worth.

None of the information about that interview with authorities was given to defense attorneys.

“The Department of Justice must always ensure that any case in which it is involved is handled fairly and consistent with its commitment to justice,” Mr. Holder also said. “Under often times trying conditions, the attorneys who serve in this department live up to those principles on a daily basis. I am proud of them and of the work they do for the American people.”

He also said the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility will “conduct a thorough review the prosecution.”

Mr. Stevens lawyers released a statement saying the verdict was “unlawful,” but went on to praise the judge, attorney general and the new prosecutors assigned to the case.

“Senator Ted Stevens has served his country with distinction in the United States Senate for more than 40 years,” the statement said. “He is a World War II veteran and a life-long public servant. He did not deserve this prosecution by rogue prosecutors trying to make reputations for themselves.”

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan held Justice Department lawyers in contempt last month for failing to turn over documents as ordered. He called their behavior “outrageous.”

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