Murkowski ‘aghast’ over news that Ted Stevens prosecutors’ charges cleared
Sen. Lisa Murkowski weighed in on a recent decision to reverse disciplinary measures against two prosecutors involved in the corruption case against the late. Sen. Ted Stevens.
“I am aghast that the Merit Systems Protection Board is overturning the meager punishments for the two Justice Department prosecutors who committed serious ethical lapses in the Ted Stevens case – which led to the verdict being thrown out – because the internal actions taken to impose discipline upon these attorneys broke internal rules and protocols,” Murkowski said in a statement Thursday.
Joseph Bottini and James Goeke, federal prosecutors in the Stevens case, faced disciplinary suspensions by the Department of Justice after a review conducted by Professional Misconduct Review Unit determined that both men had mishandled evidence in the case. A judge overturned the suspensions by the PMRU, citing procedural error when imposing a 40-day suspension against Bottini and a 15-day suspension against Goeke.
Murkowski had stated previously that the conduct of the prosecution and justice department in the Stevens case was “unconscionable.”
“Every time, every time I read a post-mortem on the Steven’s prosecution I am left more and more convinced that it was fatally mismanaged from the get go,” Murkowski testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 2012 hearing. “If the justice department had the slightest doubt that it conducted its trial in the fairest fashion, it should have asked for, it should have demanded a mistrial.”
Stevens was convicted by a jury for seven counts of false statements for concealing more than $250,000 of gifts from Veco Corp., a major oilfield services company, from his U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms. The conviction was overturned when it was discovered that, among others, Bottini and Goeke withheld key evidence from Stevens’ defense team that could have meant the trial never went before a jury, much less lead to a conviction.
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