Prosecutors: No Grounds for Dismissal

Posted October 2, 2008 at 3:28pm

Prosecutors argued Thursday that there are no grounds to declare a mistrial in the case against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), because Stevens’ defense had all available evidence prior to the beginning of the trial.

The government admitted Thursday morning that it had erred in failing to turn over to Stevens’ defense team the original FBI notes from interviews with Bill Allen, the VECO oil services company head who is alleged to have given Stevens more than $250,000 worth of gifts that Stevens did not report on his financial disclosure forms.

The new documents that the government handed over to Stevens’ lawyers Wednesday night included a direct statement that Allen believed Stevens would pay for renovations to his home if he were billed for them.

The defense claimed that it should have had this evidence weeks ago and that its case has been fundamentally damaged by the failure of prosecutors to turn this information over.

But Thursday afternoon, the government replied that there was no harm to the defense case because Stevens’ lawyers had previously been told about Allen’s belief that Stevens “wanted to pay for everything he got.”

The government contends that the trial is not about whether Allen believed Stevens would pay for things if he were billed; it is about whether Stevens failed to disclose things of value that he was receiving. The government also contends that because Allen is still available for cross-examination, there has been no harm to the defense even if the evidence they received late was critical to their case.