Judge Demands DOJ Hand Over Documents About Agent

Posted January 21, 2009 at 8:04pm

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Wednesday ordered Justice Department officials to turn over several months worth of interdepartmental communication about an FBI agent who has alleged misconduct in the trial of former Sen. Ted. Stevens (R-Alaska).

The order comes in lieu of an earlier court demand that the government attorneys file a letter — signed by the attorney general — explaining errors made in the case.

In recent weeks, Sullivan has repeatedly admonished federal prosecutors in the Stevens trial after government attorneys errantly informed the judge that an FBI agent was denied whistle-blower protection when no such decision had been made, and then framed the incident as an unfortunate mistake.

Government agents were scheduled to file the letter to the court by Jan. 17, but filed an appeal that same day eliminating the deadline.

Instead, Sullivan declared the Justice Department must turn over to the court “all communications, to, from, or between anyone in the Office of Public Integrity, and any other office within the Department of Justice, including but not limited to the Office of Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Attorneys Office for the District of Alaska, between November 15, 2008 and the present” related to the FBI agent’s complaint and his request for whistle-blower status.

Stevens was convicted in October on seven counts of failing to report on his annual financial disclosure forms hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts he received over several years, primarily in the form of renovations to his Girdwood, Alaska, home. He has denied wrongdoing, and Stevens’ defense team has filed numerous motions seeking a new trial, acquittal or dismissal of the case.