Second Discovery Violation Endangers Stevens Trial
For the second time, the federal prosecutors in Senator Ted Stevens' corruption trial have been chastised for withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense. The first instance is discussed in this post.
This time prosecutors failed to disclose that prosecution witness Bill Allen told the government that "he believed Stevens would have paid for the renovations if Allen had ever billed him." Allen's belief isn't all that important, given Allen's testimony that the person Stevens tasked with talking to Allen about payment told Allen to ignore Stevens' requests to be billed. Still, it's the kind of evidence the government must reveal, and the government's continuing inability to play by the rules has seriously aggravated the judge:
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said the powerful 40-year senator "would not be getting a fair trial if it were up to the government."
That's pretty much always true, but it's nice of a judge to notice. [more ...]
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