Prosecutorial misconduct alters the Senate
The latest news on the Ted Stevens trial is mind-boggling. Not only has the indictment been dismissed by Eric Holder and the prosecution dropped; as noted in several sources (such as the New York Times), federal Judge Emmet Sullivan is now initiating criminal contempt investigations of the Justice Department attorneys who prosecuted Stevens. Apparently those attorneys concealed exculpatory evidence and knowingly presented false testimony; Judge Sullivan is calling it the worst “mishandling or misconduct that I’ve seen in my 25 years.”
Especially troubling, I think, is the fact that the verdict in this case came down days before the general election, and Senator Stevens lost that election by 3,000 votes (out of 300,000 cast). One has to suspect that the conviction for fraud, days before the election, tipped the scales.
That is, prosecutorial misconduct is very likely to have changed the composition of the Senate in this race. I’m not a particular fan of Stevens’ politics, but I find it incredibly problematic that he lost his Senate seat in this fashion.