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:

Conversation August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm

Lincoln’s Party

Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln

Conversation March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Burn Pits

Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2016

The Hamilton Cult

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Held Back

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Division Street

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Innocents

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quiet Car

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Psychedelic Trap

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Hamilton Cult·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The past is complicated, and explaining it is not just a trick, but a gamble."
Illustration by Jimmy Turrell
Article
Division Street·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Perfectly sane people lose access to housing every day, though the resultant ordeal may undermine some of that sanity, as it might yours and mine."
Photograph © Robert Gumpert
Article
Held Back·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"'We don’t know where the money went!' a woman cried out. 'They looted it! They stole our money!'"
Artwork by Mischelle Moy
Article
The Quiet Car·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.

Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.

Photograph by Joshua Lutz
Article
Innocents·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion."
Photograph © Nadia Shira Cohen

Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):

37

Beer does not cause beer bellies.

Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today