Saturday, November 26, 2011

USDOJ's "Public Integrity" Unit

On October 27, 2008, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, a pillar of the Senate for 40 years, was convicted of a seven-felony string of corruption charges -- found guilty of accepting a bonanza of home renovations and fancy trimmings from an oil executive and then lying about it. The conviction came just in time to cost him re-election. After all, who has more credibility, a convicted felon or an elite team of prosecutors brought together to ensure that elected officials maintain the highest level of integrity? As it turns out, it's the felon who is more credible. The hot-shot "Public Integrity" prosecutors hid evidence of Sen. Stevens' innocence in order to get a conviction. They acted no more honorably than cheating prosecutors all over the country, the kind that distraught citizens turn to the "Public Integrity" Unit to rein in.

Sentor Stevens was exonerated more than a year before he died in a plane crash on August 9, 2010. Six weeks later, Nicholas Marsh, one of the "Public Integrity" prosecutors, committed suicide. The official investigation of the USDOJ prosecutors continued at a snail's pace, and appears to be wrapping up with evidence of criminal misconduct that will go unpunished. Below are some highlights of the investigation, food for thought that leads inexorably to the question, If they can do this to a ranking U.S. Senator, what do they do to regular citizens?

December 23, 2008. A special agent with the FBI is accusing government prosecutors in the Ted Stevens case of intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence from Stevens' lawyers and scheming to conceal a witness from the defense team. Did the government cheat to convict the Senator?

February 14, 2009. An angry federal judge held Justice Department lawyers in contempt yesterday for failing to deliver documents to former senator Ted Stevens's legal team, as he had ordered. "That was a court order," U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan bellowed. "That wasn't a request. I didn't ask for them out of the kindness of your hearts. . . . Isn't the Department of Justice taking court orders seriously these days?" Judges rarely hold prosecutors in contempt. They're following in Mike Nifong's footsteps.

November 21, 2011. The lawyer investigating allegations of misconduct in the investigation and prosecution of the late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens is not recommending that any of the government's lawyers face criminal charges. Still, the special prosecutor's report, filed in the chambers of U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, revealed "systemic concealment" of favorable information that would have corroborated the former Republicans senator’s defense that he did not knowingly file false Senate financial disclosure forms. They're getting off a lot lighter than their victim did.

No comments: