Judge orders investigation of Stevens prosecutorsProsecution of Stevens Politically Motivated?
April 7, 2009
WASHINGTON – A judge has dismissed charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens because of prosecutorial misconduct and has ordered a criminal contempt investigation of the prosecutors.
"In nearly 25 years on the bench, I've never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I've seen in this case," U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said in the opening moments of a hearing.
Sullivan read a stinging summary of the many times the government withheld evidence or mishandled witnesses in the case.
Stevens was convicted of lying on Senate financial forms about gifts he received from wealthy friends. But Attorney General Eric Holder asked that the case be dismissed, saying Stevens did not receive a fair trial.
Stevens narrowly lost re-election just days later, falling to Democrat Mark Begich. He had been in the Senate 40 years, making him the longest-serving Republican senator when he was defeated.
It's no secret that the prosecution and conviction of Stevens had an impact on the election for the Alsaska Senate seat and ultimately gave Democrats a greater edge in filibuster control of the U.S. Senate.
In February, Sullivan held three prosecutors -- William Welch II, Brenda Morris and Patricia Stemler -- in contempt for failing to comply with a court order. Welch is the head of the public corruption unit, and Morris was the lead prosecutor. Six members of the prosecution team eventually withdrew from the case.William Welch III, Chief of the Public Integrity Section at the Dept. of Justice is a former federal prosecutor from Massachusetts with a strong desire to be named U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts which requires a nomination by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA). Welch is a registered Democrat.
Welch's deputy, Brenda Morris (bio) was the lead attorney on the Stevens case. She rose to prominence as a prosecutor in New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's office. Morgenthau has been a fixture of Democrat politics for decades. This isn't the first time that Brenda Morris has found herself in hot water.
Senate Democrats Insulated Politically Motivated Prosecutors
Readers will recall the political firestorm which arose when President Bush fired eight U.S. Attorneys. Democrats claimed that the Dept. of Justice had become "politicized." In effect, Democrat's attack on Bush and Gonzales insulated out of control Democrat prosecutors at the Dept. from any action which might have prevented them from interfering in the election of a U.S. senator and ultimately, the balance of power in that legislative body.
Alaska Gov. Palin Calls for New Election
Palin, Republicans call for special Senate electionDemocrats have shown they will use any means, fair or foul, to win. Just as they continue to block military members casting absentee ballots they will also misuse the power of the federal government to effect the outcome of a Senate seat. Don't expect any change in this behavior soon. They keep getting away with it.
With Stevens case dismissed, some want Begich to depart.
By ERIKA BOLSTAD and SEAN COCKERHAM
Anchorage Daily News
April 2nd, 2009
Gov. Sarah Palin and the head of the Alaska Republican Party said Thursday that Sen. Mark Begich should give his Senate seat up to a special election now that prosecutors have abandoned their case against Ted Stevens.
"Alaskans deserve to have a fair election not tainted by some announcement that one of the candidates was convicted fairly of seven felonies, when in fact it wasn't a fair conviction," Palin said in a Thursday interview with the Daily News.
The chairman of the state Republican Party, Randy Ruedrich, said that the only reason Begich won his race was because "a few thousand Alaskans thought that Senator Stevens was guilty of seven felonies."
He added that he thought Begich should step down "so Alaskans may have the chance to vote for a senator without the improper influence of the corrupt Department of Justice.