Judge Throws Out Ted Stevens' Conviction, Orders Misconduct Inquiry

U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan officially tossed former Senator Ted Stevens' conviction today due to prosecutorial misconduct.

A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday threw out the criminal conviction of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens because of prosecutorial misconduct and ordered a criminal probe into the Justice Department's handling of the longtime lawmaker's corruption trial.

"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 at the hearing, granting a government motion to throw out the conviction and dismiss the indictment.


The Judge appointed a special prosecutor, Washington attorney Henry Schulke, to investigate whether criminal contempt charges should be brought against any of the prosecutors.

"Until recently, my faith in the criminal system, particularly the judicial system, was unwavering," Stevens told the court. "But what some members of the prosecution team did nearly destroyed my faith. Their conduct had consequences for me that they will never realize and can never be reversed."

Sullivan rejected the idea of an internal DOJ investigation:

Sullivan said the matter was too serious to be handled internally by the Justice Department, which, he said, took too long to investigate misconduct allegations.

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    Wow (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 07, 2009 at 02:22:49 PM EST
    The judge said that "the interest of justice" he would appoint Henry Schuelke III, name partner at Janis, Schuelke & Wechsler, to investigate and prosecute team for violating court orders and potentially obstructing justice.

    Schuelke served for seven years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, including three years as the office's executive assistant before entering private practice in 1979.


    And then, there's this:

    The Judge said Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. should train new and veteran prosecutors on the rules of evidence. He further suggested that President Barack Obama obtain the commitment of prospective U.S. attorneys to abide by these rules, and that the Senate Judiciary Committee push nominees on this point during confirmation hearings.

    This proves Stevens' innocence! (none / 0) (#2)
    by ChiTownDenny on Tue Apr 07, 2009 at 02:44:05 PM EST
    Um, he states so...   snark!

    Clearly, Judge Sullivan (none / 0) (#3)
    by Anne on Tue Apr 07, 2009 at 02:53:34 PM EST
    hasn't looked over the Siegelman case (yes, I know Stevens is in Alaska and Siegelman in Alabama).

    the Stevens case (none / 0) (#4)
    by Bemused on Tue Apr 07, 2009 at 03:01:28 PM EST
     is actually in D.C.

    Bios of prosecutors (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 07, 2009 at 04:34:42 PM EST

    Interesting that Brenda Morris joined the DoJ in 1991 and is a professor at Georgetown Law.  William Welch II did not actually try the case, but supervised it and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for US Attorney from Mass.

    of course... (none / 0) (#8)
    by diogenes on Tue Apr 07, 2009 at 10:21:25 PM EST
    If the Bush DOJ had investigated these allegations and had taken forceful steps in 2008 then the Lib-Dem Stevens haters would have said that it was simply done for political reasons to influence the Alaska senatorial election.