Gov Sarah Palin calls for an Alaska Special Election to choose a senator in wake of DEM Prosecution Team Malpractice in obtaining Sen Ted Stevens Conviction.
The current DEM senator, Sen. Mark Begich, who replaced Stevens in the US Senate, was quoted as agreeing with a special election in light of prosecutor malpractice which obtained a wrongful conviction of Sen Stevens on corruption charges amidst the 2008 election cycle.
That’s right folks… Brenda K. Morris the lead prosecutor in the Sen Ted Stevens trial is the principal deputy of William Welch II of Massachusetts who is a Democrat with a career objective of obtaining a nod from Obama for the top US Attorney General spot in Massachusetts (See news article here about Welch’s political aspirations).
Let’s see what the Wall Street Journal has to say…
Justice for Ted Stevens
Signs of prosecutorial misconduct.
The headlines are gone, and MSNBC no longer cares. But that’s all the more reason to take note of the strange and disturbing turn in the Ted Stevens legal saga.
Prosecutors claimed this senior Senatorial scalp last year, winning an ethics conviction a fortnight before the octogenarian Republican narrowly lost his bid for a seventh term from Alaska. Though media interest stopped there, the story has since become one of ambitious prosecutors who at the very least botched the job and may have miscarried justice.
Let’s unwind from the end. The Justice Department this week took the highly unusual step of replacing the team handling posttrial litigation in the case. This followed last week’s bizarre turn, when the chief of the public integrity section at Justice, William Welch, and his deputy, Brenda Morris — the federal prosecutors who won the Stevens conviction — were held in contempt of court. Judge Emmet Sullivan berated the prosecutors for failing to act on his January 21 demand to deliver internal documents to Mr. Stevens’s attorneys. “That was a court order, that wasn’t a request,” he said. “Is the Department of Justice taking court orders seriously these days?”
Those 33 documents relate to a complaint filed December 2 by one of the two FBI agents assigned to the case. Chad Joy claimed prosecutors covered up evidence and tried to keep a witness from testifying. He also said his partner, Mary Beth Kepner, had an unspecified “inappropriate relationship” with the state’s star witness, Bill Allen, and other potential witnesses. The government alleged the Senator failed to list on his Senate disclosure forms gifts and home renovation work from Mr. Allen, who ran a large Alaskan oil services company, Veco Corp.
During the trial, Judge Sullivan had also admonished the prosecution for failing to share documents with the defense and redacting exculpatory passages from witness transcripts. Under the so-called Brady rule, Justice isn’t obliged to share everything. But in a high-profile case prosecutors usually err on the side of absolute disclosure.
Any one of these prosecutorial missteps may not negate the jury’s verdict. Taken together, however, they raise serious questions about possible prosecutorial malpractice. The government’s lawyers have angered the judge and given Brendan Sullivan (no relation of the judge) and the rest of the Senator’s defense team plenty of ammunition to call for a retrial, if not dismissal. The judge will soon rule on their motion.
One excuse heard at Justice is that prosecutors didn’t expect Mr. Stevens to get such a quick trial after his July indictment, and were rushed. That raises the more relevant question — why was the Senator indicted so close to an election? The Stevens case emerged out of a broader corruption inquiry in Alaska overseen by Alice Fisher, a Bush appointee who headed up the Criminal Division. She left last May. The Stevens indictment was unveiled in July by Matthew Friedrich, tapped by the Bush Administration to run the division. He had served on the Enron task force, helping bring down Arthur Andersen. That verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court, albeit too late for Andersen. He exited Justice on Inauguration Day, leaving the current mess.
Mr. Welch, the prosecutor, is a career Justice lawyer appointed to his post by Ms. Fisher. In a profile last week in his hometown newspaper, the Springfield, Mass., Republican, he was described as a registered Democrat vying for a promotion to U.S. Attorney in Boston. The day this story appeared, he was found in contempt.
So what we seem to have here are young lawyers eager to make their reputations by bagging a big-name Senator. Justice rules forbid issuing indictments too close to elections. These columns were tough on Mr. Stevens at the time, but the facts that have since come to light cast real doubt on the case. Though Mr. Stevens was a champion earmarker, the government never alleged much less proved that Veco got anything in return from the Senator. The formal charges are a low-grade felony — in essence, lying on forms. This is not like the charges against William Jefferson or Randy “Duke” Cunningham.
Mr. Stevens will try to overturn the verdict and rebuild his reputation. He is unlikely to get his Senate seat back, even if he wins on appeal or at retrial. But the evidence of prosecutorial malpractice is serious enough to warrant an internal Justice probe, and perhaps judicial sanctions.