In a stunning turn of events, the Obama Justice Department under Eric Holder has declined to pursue the sentencing of Alaska’s former senator, Ted Stevens, and requested that the charges against him be dropped.
After careful review,” Holder said in a written statement Wednesday, “I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. … I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial.”
Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the prosecution’s conduct.
“I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed,” said Stevens, 85, who was awaiting sentencing when the government announced its decision. “That day has finally come,” his statement Wednesday said. “It is unfortunate that an election was affected by proceedings now recognized as unfair.”
Stevens’ lawyers, however, issued a blistering statement, saying that the “misconduct of government prosecutors, and one or more FBI agents was stunning.”
“This jury verdict was obtained unlawfully,” said Stevens’ attorneys Brendan Sullivan and Robert Cary. “Not only did the government fail to disclose evidence of innocence, but instead intentionally hid that evidence and created false evidence that they provided to the defense.”
“The new attorney general has sent an unequivocal message that prosecutions of any kind, whether against Republicans, Democrats, independents or others, must be done right, and in accordance with the law,” Leahy said in a statement.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, issued a statement saying she was “pleased” with the decision. “But I am deeply disturbed that the government can ruin a man?s career and then say “never mind,” she said. “There is nothing that will ever compensate for the loss of his reputation or leadership to the State of Alaska.”