Special Prosecutor: Stevens Prosecutors Systematically Concealed Evidence
Report details prosecutorial misconduct
ANCHORAGE - A special prosecutor in Washington, D.C. found that federal prosecutors willfully and systematically withheld favorable evidence for the defense in the criminal case of the late Senator Ted Stevens.
That report, submitted to a judge in November, was released today.
The 514-page report became public almost three years after ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan, on the day he tossed out the conviction of Ted Stevens because prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence.
The report concludes the evidence would have corroborated Stevens' defense against felony charges that he failed to disclose substantial gifts, notably the renovation of his Girdwood home.
The special prosecutor says the government's key witness, Bill Allen, former CEO of Veco Corporation, invented a portion of his testimony with the acquiescence of prosecutors.
He also describes numerous false statements regarding the government's knowledge of bill Allen’s purchase of sex from an underage female prostitute and his alleged attempt to get her to commit perjury denying it.
Congressional reaction was swift.
"Instead of justice being blind, in this case justice was blindly ignored,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, expressed shock that some of the prosecutors still work for the Department of Justice.
"Most certainly the misconduct in this case I hope results in the people who were found to have not acted fairly would no longer be in the justice department at all. I think that taints the justice department."
Murkowski is co-sponsoring a bill that would establish one standard nationally for turning over exculpatory evidence to the defense.
"So now it's incumbent upon us here in congress to ensure justice is done out of respect for our friend Senator Stevens and for the sake of the constitutional system.
One of Stevens’ attorneys, Robert Cary, spoke at the Capitol Hill news conference.
"When the dust settled, he wanted to devote his efforts to ensuring that the reforms to make it far less likely that what happened to him happened to others. He was waiting for this report today, and tragically he did not live to see this report. But we're going to continue to fight for him."
Ted Stevens was, and is, not guilty – legally.
But was he innocent?
Cliff Groh, a former prosecutor who attended all of the trial in the fall of 2008, has his doubts about that.
"I can't say that same jury if it heard all the evidence it should have heard, that it would not have not reached some guilty verdicts. I'm not saying it would have convicted on all seven counts – as it reached guilty verdicts on all seven counts before. It might have reached guilty verdicts on some of the seven counts and not guilty on others, and maybe hung on others."
Murkowski is still trying to get an account from Attorney General Eric Holder about why Allen was not prosecuting for having sex with minors.
But Groh does not think it will happen.
"The United States government wants this to be over. This is sort of like a root canal combined with a colonoscopy and no anesthetic on either end."
So the pain might be all that remains.