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U. S. Justice Department To Drop Charges
Against Former Senator Ted Stevens
Department will conduct a thorough review of the prosecution


April 01, 2009

(SitNews) - The United States Department of Justice announced today it would drop corruption charges against former United States Senator Ted Stevens because prosecutors withheld evidence from the senator's defense team during his trial.

The 85-year-old Republican lawmaker lost his bid for re-election just days after a jury found that he had lied about gifts and home renovations and convicted him last October on seven counts. Sentencing of Stevens had been delayed amid charges by an FBI agent of prosecutorial misconduct in the case. Throughout the trial, Stevens maintained his innocence.

The Department of Justice conducted a review of the case, including an examination of the extent of the disclosures provided to the defendant. Attorney General Eric Holder said said, "After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial."

Holder said, "The Department's Office of Professional Responsibility will conduct a thorough review of the prosecution of this matter." Holder said, "This does not mean or imply that any determination has been made about the conduct of those attorneys who handled the investigation and trial of this case."

Former United States Senator Ted Stevens said in a prepared statement, "I am grateful that the new team of responsible prosecutors at the Department of Justice has acknowledged that I did not receive a fair trial and has dismissed all the charges against me. I am also grateful that Judge Emmet G. Sullivan made rulings that facilitated the exposure of the government's misconduct during the last two years. I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed. That day has finally come."

Stevens said, "It is unfortunate that an election was affected by proceedings now recognized as unfair. It was my great honor to serve the State of Alaska in the United States Senate for 40 years."

"I thank my wife Catherine, as well as my family, friends, and colleagues in the United States Senate who stood by me during this difficult period. I also want to thank the great number of Alaskans who offered their prayers and support," said Stevens.

"Senator Stevens deserves to be very happy today. What a horrible thing he has endured. The blatant attempts by adversaries to destroy one's reputation, career and finances are an abuse of our well-guarded process and violate our God-given rights afforded in the Constitution, Palin said in a prepared statement. "It is a frightening thing to contemplate what we may be witnessing here - the undermining of the political process through unscrupulous ploys and professional misconduct." Palin said that Senator Stevens and she had lunch together recently at her home and he reiterated the faith he held for vindication. Palin said, "He never gave up hope."

Palin said, "It is unfortunate that, as a result of the questionable proceedings which led to Senator Stevens' conviction days before the election, Alaskans lost an esteemed statesman on Capitol Hill. His presence is missed."

In a prepared statement, U. S. Senator Lisa Murkowski said, "I was pleased with the news that the Justice Department will drop all charges against Senator Ted Stevens, but I am deeply disturbed that the government can ruin a man's career and then say 'never mind.' There is nothing that will ever compensate for the loss of his reputation or leadership to the State of Alaska."

Murkowski said, "Our nation is governed by the rule of law, and violations of our civil liberties cannot be tolerated. Prosecutors and law enforcement have the power to bring the full weight of the government to bear on individuals. If they are willing to bend the law, they put all of our civil liberties at risk."

U. S. Senator Mark Begich said in a prepared statement, ""The decision by President Obama's Justice Department to end the prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens is reasonable. I always said I didn't think Senator Stevens should serve time in jail and hopefully this decision ensures that is the case. It's time for Senator Stevens, his family and Alaskans to move on and put this behind us."

"Ted was not only my colleague but he is my good friend, and today is a great day for him and the state of Alaska; justice has finally been served," said Rep. Don Young. "This has been a long, hard road for him and his family, friends, and staff. Those of us who know Ted have always known he is a good and honorable man who has spent his career providing for the state that he loves. It's a shame that Alaskans lost one of the best lawmakers they've ever had last year over a false conviction but his legacy in Alaska will always live on." Young said, "I join my fellow Alaskans today in standing by Ted and congratulating him and Catherine on the courage they've shown throughout this ordeal and the end of this difficult journey."

Attorney General Eric Holder said, "The Department of Justice must always ensure that any case in which it is involved is handled fairly and consistent with its commitment to justice. Under oftentimes trying conditions, the attorneys who serve in this Department live up to those principles on a daily basis. I am proud of them and of the work they do for the American people."





Sources of News:

United States Department of Justice

Office of Gov. Sarah Palin

Office of U. S. Senator Lisa Murkowski

Office of U. S. Sen. Mark Begich

Office of Rep. Don Young

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