Attorney General Eric Holder won lots of praise today for asking a court to dismiss the indictment against convicted former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, including from Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who said the decision shows that Holder is “committed to the rule of law, regardless of politics.”
But campaign finance watchdogs, while praising the attorney general’s acknowledgment of prosecutors’ wrongdoing, want more information about why Holder said he’s not going to re-try Stevens on the charges of failing to disclose gifts worth about $250,000 from an Alaska energy firm.
“The motion filed by the Government in the case today and other allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in the case are gravely serious and must be fully addressed,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Executive Director of the Campaign Legal Center, in a statement released today. “But the outright dismissal of an indictment rather than agreeing to a new trial is such an extreme measure that it warrants additional explanation. What is it about the information that now justifies outright dismissal of the indictment with prejudice?”
To be sure, the government’s motion filed with the District Court gives no clue. It says only that the interview notes of a key witness were not provided to Stevens or his lawyer when they should have been. “The Government believes that granting a new trial is in the interest of justice. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 33(a).”
But the Government goes on to say that it’s “further determined that, based on the totality of circumstances and in the interest of justice, it will not seek a new trial.”
Why not? As Hebert notes, “a prior inconsistent statement, even of a key witness, is likely not the only reason that our nation’s chief law enforcement officer would authorize prosecutors to seek a dismissal of an indictment after conviction, especially in a high profile case like this.”
Sure, Stevens is 85 years old, and some, like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), [have said](failing to disclose gifts worth about $250,000 from an Alaska energy firm) that he just didn’t understand today’s rules, and putting him in prison won’t do any good. But as Hebert points out, “he was prepared (if he won re-election) to serve another 6-year term,” despite strong evidence that he lied and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in valuable gifts that he never reported.
The attorney general ought to provide more information, then, about why he’s dropping the case, said Hebert, who also wants “assurances that the public integrity section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division is now being supervised to a degree that pending investigations (e.g., arising out of the Abramoff scandal, Rep. Jefferson, Rep. Doolittle, etc.) are not at risk of being thrown out for similar prosecutorial misconduct.”
TWI is on Twitter. Please follow us here.
Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response
Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen
Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight
Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight
Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment
In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep
Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!
The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the
Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’
Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday
Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store
Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public
Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs
Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability
Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg
In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what
Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan
Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.
School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.