No Comment — February 6, 2009, 5:27 pm

Will Prosecutorial Misconduct Lead to Reversal of the Stevens Conviction?

The trial on corruption charges of the Senate’s senior Republican, Ted Stevens, ended on October 27, and the jurors quickly returned a “guilty” verdict. But now glaring disclosures of misconduct by the prosecution team raise doubt about whether the conviction will stand. As noted previously, Judge Emmet Sullivan, suggesting that he did not consider the Public Integrity Section lawyers appearing in the case to be credible. He insisted that then-Attorney General Mukasey furnish him with a written explanation for the Department’s failure to provide whistleblower protections to the FBI agent who came forward with the prosecutorial misconduct allegations that have rocked the case.

Mukasey apparently departed without complying with the judge’s request. But Public Integrity Section chief William Welch sent the judge a detailed letter offering novel rationalizations for the prosecution’s false steps and seeking not to be held in contempt. Welch’s submission fails to comply with the specific demands the judge placed on prosecutors about disclosure of communications. Welch instead suggested that the judge was operating on the basis of a misunderstanding about the case and that he would need a further two weeks to comply if the judge persisted in his order. The Anchorage Daily News reports

In a letter to the judge dated Jan. 30 and made public Thursday, William M. Welch II, head of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, said he erred when he said in January that government employees cited in an FBI agent’s complaint alleging improprieties by government officials “want their story to be made public.” In fact, he wrote, not all of them gave their consent to having their names released Jan. 14 in a publicly filed copy of the eight-page complaint, though he didn’t identify which ones.

Stevens’s attorneys are seeking to have the conviction overturned on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, a remedy which is rarely granted. In papers filed with the court, Stevens’s attorney states:

The government still does not get it. Over and over again, it has been caught red-handed making false representations to the Court and the defense.

This is the latest in a long series of scandals surrounding prosecutions by the Public Integrity Section, differing from others only in that the defendant in this case is a prominent Republican. A special prosecutor is probing allegations that the Bush White House improperly manipulated prosecutors for political purposes following the release of reports by two Congressional committees and the Justice Department’s own Inspector General that documented such manipulation in great detail. None of the allegations touched upon the Stevens case, however.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2014

Stop Hillary!

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

How the Islamic State was Won

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Cage Wars

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Everyday Grace

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Stop Hillary!·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"What Hillary will deliver, then, is more of the same. And that shouldn’t surprise us."
Photograph by Joe Raedle
Article
Cage Wars·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"In the 1970s, “Chickens’ Lib” was a handful of women in flower-print dresses holding signs, but in the past decade farm hens have become almost a national preoccupation."
Photograph by Adam Dickerson/Big Dutchman USA, courtesy Vande Bunte Farms
Article
Paradise Lost·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Suffering Sappho! Here we still are, marching right into yet another century with our glass ceilings, unequal pay, unresolved work and child-care balance, and still marrying, forever marrying, men."
Illustration by Anthony Lister
Article
Off the Land·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Nearly half the reservation lives below the poverty line, with unemployment as high as 60 percent, little to no infrastructure, few entitlements, a safety net that never was, no industry to speak of, and a housing crisis that has been dire not for five years but since the reservation’s founding in 1855."
Illustration by Stan Fellows
Post
Introducing the November 2014 Issue·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Doug Henwood on stopping Hillary Clinton, fighters and potential recruits discuss the rise of the Islamic State, the inevitability of factory farming, and more

Cover photo by Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Average number of days an oiled seabird survives in the wild after cleaning and release:

6

Epilepsy drugs can extend the life of worms by 50 percent.

A deaf dog belonging to a deaf owner was shot and killed in Alabama, and an Indiana dog’s skin troubles were found to be caused by an allergy to humans. “It’s just not his fault,” said the owner of Lucky Dog Retreat.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today