Prosecutorial Misconduct in the Stevens Trial?


The Washington Post reports that defense attorneys for Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, have accused prosecutors of withholding potentially exculpatory information. It appears that the judge hearing the case agrees:

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.” He halted trial testimony so lawyers could prepare for a 4:30 p.m. hearing on motions to end the case or impose sanctions on the government.

The indictment against Stevens seemed weak — arguing that Stevens had failed to disclose information about his residence on his personal financial disclosure (residences are pretty much exempt from disclosure, but there is an effort to change that).

Prosecutorial misconduct doesn’t get nearly enough attention. The Center for Public Integrity did a massive project on local prosecutors available here, but someone should take a look at federal prosecutors as well. The problem, as the CPI study notes, is that unaddressed misconduct puts innocent people in prison, while misconduct discovered often leaves potentially guilty folks on the street.