Stevens Attorneys: Feds Won’t Share Files

Posted September 9, 2008 at 6:31pm

Attorneys for Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R) filed a complaint in federal court Tuesday alleging government prosecutors have failed to share “substantial” evidence despite a rapidly approaching trial date.

Stevens is charged with seven counts of filing false financial statements to conceal the receipt of more than $250,000 in gifts over an eight-year period. He pleaded not guilty in July in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and is scheduled to go on trial Sept. 22.

According to court documents, Stevens’ attorneys allege the government has failed to provide FBI interview notes, grand jury transcripts, plea agreements with certain witnesses, medical records for witnesses, as well as “metadata” on digital photographs and detailed logs on government surveillance activities.

“Despite the government’s promises and the continued efforts of defense counsel to resolve discovery issues without involving the court, the government continues to withhold substantial amounts of material,” wrote attorney Robert Cary, who is defending Stevens along with attorney Brendan Sullivan.

The attorneys asked the court to compel the government to turn over the requested information. Electronic court records did not contain a government response by late Tuesday afternoon.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled this morning before Judge Emmet Sullivan.

The motion also reveals at least a portion of the defense strategy Stevens could employ at the upcoming trial.

In particular, Stevens’ attorneys have sought metadata on digital photographs — including “what type of lens was used, aperture settings, etc.” — in an attempt to invalidate government photographs of the Senator’s Girdwood, Alaska, home.

“This particular data is relevant in order to determine the reliability of digital photographs, at least some of which the government apparently intends to introduce into evidence,” Cary wrote in a subsequent filing. “From viewing these photographs, it appears that the government used wide angle lenses or other optics that distorted the perspective in the photos, for example making rooms in the Girdwood residence appear much larger than in real life.”