Justice Dept. bungling of Stevens’ case inexcusable

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The government’s bungling of the Ted Stevens prosecution is inexcusable.

Justice Department attorneys violated a basic tenet of judicial proceedings by withholding from the defense evidence that might have created the reasonable doubt jurors needed to acquit instead of convict Mr. Stevens. We’ll never know.

As a result of the prosecutorial wrongdoing, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has asked a judge to vacate the conviction of the former Alaska senator and dismiss the entire indictment charging him with multiple counts of corruption. There will be no new trial. Mr. Stevens, guilty or not, will walk free. Justice has not been served. …

It was just the latest in a litany of government missteps that caused the presiding judge to reprimand prosecutors and even hold them in contempt for their conduct. At one point, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, frustrated with the government, declared, “This is not a trial by any means.” …

The prosecuting attorneys should be fired and prosecuted for any violations. The abuse of government power and the judicial process casts a shadow over the Justice Department.

— The Daily Times,

Watertown, NY