Three Years After Stevens Trial Senator Lisa Murkowski Wants Answers
Murkowski wants the taxpayer money back
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three years after the U.S. Attorney General dismissed a federal corruption conviction against former Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska lawmakers still have questions about how the case was handled.
An independent court-ordered investigation revealed significant, widespread and at times intentional misconduct.
In a U.S. subcommittee hearing today Senator Lisa Murkowski wanted answers. She said it wasn’t just the fact that an independently conducted investigation revealed prosecuting attorneys intentionally withheld evidence in the trial against Stevens, it was the fact that they were trying to hide it again, to the tune of $1.8 billion.
“In addition to spending taxpayer money to defend your attorneys, did the taxpayers also pay for the attorneys to argue that the contents of this report should not be publicly released?" Said Murkowski.
The report is set to be released publicly next week and Attorney General Eric Holder said the Department of Justice fully supports the move.
“There is a legitimate public interest in knowing as much as we can about what happened, why it happened and what steps the Justice Department has taken in connection with these findings of misconduct,” said Holder.
But after the department spent hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in attorney fees defending its own prosecutors and trying to delay the release of the report, Murkowski said she wants the money back.
"Does the government have any resource to recover the funds that have been paid for their attorneys fees when they have engaged in intentional misconduct?”
Other lawmakers said it’s a bipartisan matter of public trust.
"We have to have, regardless of which party is in the white house, a justice department that we believe in and that the American people believe in," said Senator Barbara Mikulski.
The senators said we’ve paid a steep price, but still haven’t seen real justice.