Stevens’ Attorneys Claim Prosecutors Violated Court Rules

Posted November 26, 2008 at 4:13pm

Attorneys for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on Wednesday accused federal prosecutors of violating court procedures and demanded access to a private communication authored by the government.

According to a motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, government prosecutors submitted to Judge Emmet Sullivan an “ex parte” filing, a sealed document that Stevens’ attorneys do not have access too.

“The government submitted its ex parte filing without prior motion, permission, or notice to the defense. The government’s unilateral ex parte communication with the Court is a clear violation of the rules,” the motion states. “The ex parte filing should be rejected; its contents should be disclosed to defense counsel; and the Court should consider whether other remedies are appropriate.”

The motion later concluded: “[T]he government took unilateral action, indistinguishable from marching into Chambers and speaking to the judge outside the presence of the defense. As a result, the trial judge in a criminal case apparently has heard evidence, to which the Defendant has no access, regarding a contested motion that affects the defendant’s liberty.”

Although Stevens was convicted in late October, a key witness in the criminal case against the Senator recently recanted part of his testimony, and Sullivan has granted a Dec. 1 hearing on allegations that the prosecution encouraged the witness to lie and improperly gave him access to evidence in preparation for his testimony against Stevens.

Stevens was found guilty of seven counts of failing to disclose gifts on his annual financial disclosure forms in order to conceal the receipt of more than $250,000 in gifts, primarily in the form of renovations to his Girdwood, Alaska, home.

The Alaskan, who has maintained his innocence, was defeated in his re-election bid. He has yet to be sentenced.