News DOJ drops charges against Ted Stevens after new evidence of prosecutor misconduct

1. Apr 1, 2009

signerror

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/was...-charges-can-he-get-his-senate-seat-back.html

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
2. Apr 1, 2009

LowlyPion

So is this another April Fool joke?

As to getting his reputation back ... ha.

He earned his reputation fair and square. Let him live with it in his refurbished home.

3. Apr 1, 2009

signerror

No.

A wrongful conviction changed the outcome of an election. I find nothing amusing about that.

4. Apr 1, 2009

LowlyPion

Prosecutorial misconduct doesn't mean that he was not guilty. We will never know at this point if he would have been found guilty in a fair trial, only that he was found guilty in a flawed one. I'm not so sure that exonerates his good name, though it does relieve him of the prospect of jail. Holder's decision in light of the fact that he is no longer a threat to the public well being looks appropriate to me any way. After all there are bigger things to worry about than prosecuting a Senator no longer in office.

As to losing an election, the omelet is made. It's not going back in the egg. And it may in fact be the saving grace that encouraged this administration to drop the case.

5. Apr 1, 2009

chemisttree

Holder's decision had absolutely nothing to do with Stevens' being a threat to the public well being.

Holder's decision was entirely due to the miscarriage of justice that this trial represents.

6. Apr 1, 2009

turbo

Those of us on the outside will never know the details of the legal machinations in this case. Having had to sue a past employer for improperly-withheld pay (which he eventually paid) and having to endure a counter-suit, I can tell you that when high-priced defense lawyers start planning for what could be a $loss, their first line of defense is to claim access to whatever piece of paper or electronic data that you might have (or have had) access to. Normally a judge will not grant such unlimited discovery unless the defendant can prove that they need such unfettered access. If the defense loses the case, they claim that you denied them access to information that would have exonerated the defendant. They only need access to one sympathetic judge to get the "contaminated" judgement thrown out, and it's not that hard to do. The facts of the case, as presented to the public, include Ted Stevens' acceptance of (if not solicited) over$1/4M worth of gifts from a contractor to which he steered business. Other facts include that he did not disclose these gifts to the Senate, nor did he claim them to the IRS and pay taxes on them. Just an honest mistake, I'm sure. I'm sure that Joe Q. Citizen would get off scott-free if he made the same mistakes.

7. Apr 2, 2009

chemisttree

Those aren't really facts, just allegations. Allegations made by prosecutors now known to have been criminally negligent in their prosecution of this case. No mistake at all. It was all BS. The work conducted by the contractor was estimated to be closer to 130K than 250K.

Ted Stevens paid 160K and received no bill for the service even though the contractor admitted in an e-mail (that was illegally kept from the defense lawyers) that Stevens would likely have paid the full bill if it were tendered.

This man was cruelly railroaded by DOJ and his constitutional right to a FAIR TRIAL was violated.

Turbo, the details of your case have absolutely no bearing on this case.

8. Apr 2, 2009

turbo

I never said that it did. I was merely pointing out that defense lawyers have lots of tricks up their sleeves, and accusing the other legal team of withholding key evidence is a great way to shop around for a sympathetic appeals judge and get the whole case thrown out. There are many other tactics, and a wealthy, well-connected fellow like Stevens could easily have kept his case in appeals until he either got it tossed or died. The defense makes an appeal, and follows the appeal until they either find a sympathetic judge or the appeals process stalls. At that time, they raise another point of appeal and start pursuing that claim.

9. Apr 2, 2009

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
It's a good thing for Stevens that we now have an AG determined to defend the rights and protections endowed by the Constitution.

This case reminds a bit of the OJ case [not to equate Stevens with OJ] in that even if I think he guilty, the greater imperative is that Constitutional protections are maintained.

10. Apr 2, 2009

signerror

The Republican Party is calling for Begich to resign.

This could get interesting. *fetches popcorn*

11. Apr 2, 2009

LowlyPion

Yeah the Republican Party is so interested in the people being properly represented that they are still vowing to fight Franken all the way to the Supremes, even if it takes years of denying the people of Minnesota their representation.

I think they need to take a partisan hypocrisy pill and call back in the morning.

12. Apr 2, 2009

mheslep

We had those protections with Mukasey as well.

Its a shame to see Steven's get off due to a mishandled case. Both from what I read and from folks I know that do business in Alaska, he was a colossal old school crook.

Last edited: Apr 2, 2009
13. Apr 2, 2009

LowlyPion

Not one for deep thought apparently, Palin jumps into calling for Begich to resign too. If she's not careful people may ask her to resign if they had known what kind of person she was before she was elected.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
14. Apr 3, 2009

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Perhaps... I'm still struggling to get over Gonzo.

15. Apr 7, 2009

signerror

16. Apr 7, 2009

BobG

Actually, this is pretty smart of Palin. What if Stevens gets bored just hanging around the house and decides to run for the Senate seat Palin is rumored to be running for? Or if Stevens decides he actually likes Alaska and challenges Palin in the gubernatorial primary?

Well, it would be smart if there were a prayer of it working. There's no reason for Begich to resign, so why would he?

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
17. Apr 7, 2009

LowlyPion

I think she is already in a tough fight if she wants to unseat Murkowski. Stevens too if he wants to try a return to Dogpatch. Prosecutorial misconduct doesn't mean that he is innocent, only that he got off. (OJ got off.) Without his patronage to help him will his power still be in tact in 2 years enough to get him in ... assuming he wants to run again. 2 more years is a long time at his age too.

The question is will Murkowski give way in the first place. And Palin and her relatives grabbing the news (Todd's sister was just arrested for burglary) raises the question of if she would even be able to hold the Governorship, much less take on a Senate campaign. My guess is she will quit the Governorship and start running for 2012 next year, if for no other reason than to save face at the risk of being defeated statewide.

18. Apr 8, 2009

BobG

Ted Stevens for Governor

Cons: Too old. I'm not sure he'd like living in Alaska full-time anyway.

Pros: Would Ted Stevens ever turn down federal money? (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,510178,00.html) People make it sound like obtaining earmarks in the budget for your constituents is a bad thing, but it isn't - bringing in federal money gets you elected.

Of course, in the end, even Republican Governors hoping to run for President in 2012 accepted the money, but at least Sanford, Palin, Jindal, Barbour, and Perry got in a few good sound bites. The nation appreciated their efforts, even if they just pissed off people in their own states.

Palin needs to decide whether her future is in Alaska or the lower-48 real quick and you might well be right. I don't think that would be the smart move for her though. She was a pretty good governor in a libertarian state (Alaska couldn't care less about her family problems). She was a disaster on the national stage.

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017