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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trial Of Ted Stevens Shows His Federal Prosecutors' CORRUPTION Instead. As For Me, I Gladly Give Ted Stevens My Apologies For My Rants Against Him On This Blog, Posthumously.

Rogue federal prosecutors denied Stevens a fair trial
By Michael Carey

As his trial on corruption charges approached in the fall of 2008, Ted Stevens railed to me in an email: "What did I do, Michael? What did I do?" The wounded rage smoldering in that question to a reporter reflected his belief that he had done nothing wrong. He continued to insist on his innocence after a Washington jury found him guilty of lying on financial disclosure forms.

Stevens' conviction was dismissed in 2009 after the Justice Department's admission that government lawyers failed to turn over evidence the Stevens defense should have received. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, who presided over Stevens' trial, soon authorized an investigation of the prosecutors' conduct, a move as rare as the trial of a U.S. senator.

Last week, the judge's investigator, Special Counsel Henry F. Schuelke, issued his findings, which Stevens will never read. He died in a 2010 airplane accident.

We don't know what a fair trial would have produced. But now this is a story of government prosecutors — some in Anchorage, some in Washington — who failed to live up to their professional responsibilities and thus failed to give Stevens a fair trial.

Schuelke blisteringly refers to their "astonishing misstatements" that concealed documents and information in their possession.

The government attorneys most involved in the case held positions of exceptional responsibility and exceptional trust. Brenda Morris, the lead attorney at trial, had 20 years of experience as she was promoted to increasingly influential positions. Three younger attorneys — Nicholas Marsh (who later killed himself), James Goeke and Edward Sullivan — clerked for federal judges and appeared to be on their way to noteworthy public service careers.

Joseph Bottini had been a member of the U.S. attorney's office in Alaska since 1985 and was well-known and well respected throughout the state's legal community.

If the government attorneys were guilty of misconduct, they also were guilty of badly misreading Stevens. He certainly was guilty of bad judgment — making campaign contributors to his friends because of what they could do for his re-election. But for 40 years he lived modestly, traveled modestly and made himself available to Alaskans of every income group, every racial group and of all political persuasions. He thought this was his job.

Stevens may have been arrogant, hot tempered and in love with congressional earmarks, but he wasn't a calculating deceiver. When he insisted that he had asked for a bill for the many improvements a contractor made to his Alaska home because he intended to pay for them — and not paying for them was fundamental to his indictment — prosecutor Morris told colleagues that he was showing "gator arms," like the friend at lunch "whose arms aren't quite long enough to reach the bill. They make a feigned pass."

This was not Ted Stevens at all, and did not belong in any theory of his alleged lawbreaking.

My conclusion is that federal prosecutors need far better supervision of what they do, not just desultory acceptance by their supervisors or the court of what they say they do. The Stevens case is a supervisory failure from top to bottom that terminated Stevens' political career and significantly damaged the reputation of the Justice Department.

After the charges against him were dismissed, Stevens said he would work to change federal laws and practices to make them fairer to the accused. Stevens was a former federal prosecutor, and he understood that prosecutors with vast power, like politicians with vast power, are subject to temptation.

Michael Carey is the former editorial page editor of the Anchorage Daily News and the host of Alaska Edition for Alaska Public Television.

Read more here:

Editor's comment: I believe the prosecutor's wanted a "feather in their caps", so to speak, and to use a successful prosecution of the Senator to advance their professional careers. They are the guilty ones, and should have all been disbarred.



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