Ted Stevens, the octogenarian ex-senator from Alaska, was convicted shortly before the November election of lying on Senate financial disclosure forms, costing the Republican his seat in the Senate.
His supporters and many Alaskans, who affectionately refer to him as “Uncle Ted,” cried foul. And now a federal judge agrees.
” ‘In nearly 25 years on the bench, I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case,’ U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said at a hearing today (April 7), granting a government motion to throw out the conviction and dismiss the indictment.” (NPR report)
There were problems throughout the trial.
And, says NPR, “FBI agent Chad Joy later accused some of his colleagues on the prosecution team of ‘serious violations of policy, rules and procedures, as well as possible criminal violations.'”
Three veteran prosecutors — William Welch II, Brenda Morris and Patricia Stemler — were found in contempt of court in February for failing to comply with a court order to produce documents.
The accusations against Stevens stem from home renovations and “gifts” or “loans” – depending on who’s talking – at the Stevens home in Alaska, and how he accounted for these things in disclosure forms.
It’s an embarrassing moment for the Justice Department and pretty much everyone involved in the case from the contractor who reportedly gave Stevens a sweetheart deal to the prosecutors to Stevens himself, who at 85 is probably done with public office.