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Judge Says Trial Against Stevens Will Continue

POSTED: 04:56 PM ET, 10/ 2/2008 by Derek Kravitz

UPDATE (6:03 p.m.): U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled out a mistrial in the corruption case against Republican Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, saying the trial will resume Monday. Stevens's attorneys had sought to have the trial dismissed, arguing that federal prosecutors had withheld FBI files "favorable" to the 40-year lawmaker's defense.

***

A federal judge is deciding whether he should throw out corruption charges against Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens after the Republican lawmaker's attorneys accused government prosecutors of hiding FBI reports favorable to Stevens.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan suspended the two-week-long trial for the day after Stevens's lead attorney, Brendan V. Sullivan Jr., accused prosecutors of hiding an FBI report that appeared to show Stevens did not willingly approve $250,000 in remodeling on his home near Anchorage.

Government lawyers countered Sullivan's argument, saying such evidence was "absolutely, unquestionably, and unequivocally disclosed" to the defense prior to the trial.

Download (PDF) | Defense Petition (PDF) | More Documents

Stevens, 84, is fighting for his political life in a corruption trial over potentially improper gifts and home renovations he received from his longtime friend, former Veco Corp. oil executive Bill Allen.

At one point, the judge said Stevens "would not be getting a fair trial if it were up to the government," The Post's Del Quentin Wilber and Carol D. Leonnig reported.

Erika Bolstad and Richard Mauer, writing for the Anchorage Daily News, described a heated exchange between Stevens's attorney, Sullivan, and the government's chief prosecutor, Brenda Morris:

"This can't be undone," Sullivan thundered, speaking directly up to the judge from a podium less than 10 feet away. Then, clutching his chest, he said, "My heart's beating twice as fast as it should be for a 66-year-old man. This can't happen in court."

As he accused the prosecution of misconduct, the chief prosecutor, Brenda Morris, leaped to her feet and got within inches of Stevens' lawyer, her voiced raised as well.

"He called me out," she told the judge as he tried to calm the situation.

Walking back to the defense table, Sullivan said, "I called her up, not out."

Morris admitted she violated the judge's orders in not turning over the document, but not Stevens' rights. She said the defense was told Allen had said that very thing in a letter on Sept. 9.

By Derek Kravitz |  October 2, 2008; 4:56 PM ET Hot Documents , Stevens Trial
Previous: Bridge to Somewhere: FDA Uses Alaska Corp. in Questioned Contract | Next: 'Small' Sweeteners in the Big Bailout

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The prosecution blew it on this one. Now they have to turn over to the defense THOUSANDS of handwritten documents. The likelihood that there will be something else found that, arguably, should have been given to the defense in that much data is almost a certainty, and if that happens it will be strike three for the prosecution, and this case will be dismissed with prejudice.

It doesn't seem like the federal government has any competency left about anything, does it?

Posted by: George Hanshaw | October 6, 2008 2:25 AM

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