DOJ: Witness in Stevens Case Is Lying

Posted November 21, 2008 at 4:24pm

The Justice Department said late Friday that a witness in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) who is trying to recant his testimony is lying.

Stevens was convicted Oct. 27 on seven counts of failing to disclose gifts on his annual financial disclosure forms. The central focus of the case was hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of renovations to his home that were provided by employees of VECO, an oil-services company owned by his friend Bill Allen.

One of the government’s key witnesses in in the trial was VECO employee Dave Anderson, who testified about the extensive work that he did on the Stevens’ home renovation project while on VECO’s payroll.

In March, Anderson, apparently believing that Allen was planning to have him killed, signed an affidavit saying the government had promised complete immunity for him, his family and his friends in exchange for his testimony against Stevens.

During his testimony, Anderson admitted that the affidavit was false, saying there was no promise of immunity.

But in a Nov. 15 letter to the judge, Anderson wrote: “I testified to the fact that there was never immunity for me or my family and friends. That simply is not true.”

Anderson wrote that he testified that the affidavit was false only because he thought it would ensure that it would end his involvement in the case. If he had not believed there was an immunity deal, he said, “I would never have testified, I would have pleaded the fifth.”

Anderson also said that in preparation for his testimony, the government provided him access to many documents needed to build the case against Stevens. At one point, Anderson claimed, prosecutors “set folders out on the desk and slid them away from me telling me I was not to read them. They left the room and closed the door. Of course I read them all.”

Late Friday the Justice Department filed a response motion saying: “Simply put, Mr. Anderson’s November 2008 letter is false.” The motion argues that Anderson had already admitted that the March affidavit was false, and “Mr. Anderson’s new statements to the contrary are like his statements in the March Affidavit itself: not true.”

The Justice Department said it would provide a more detailed rebuttal Monday, including additional evidence that proves Anderson is lying.

Stevens’ attorneys asked Judge Emmet Sullivan to call a hearing to investigate Anderson’s new claims, suggesting that the alleged misconduct was serious enough to warrant a dismissal of the charges against Stevens or a new trial.