GOP Judiciary Members Seek Action in Stevens Case

Posted April 2, 2009 at 4:58pm

Updated: 9:36 p.m.Several Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee chastised the Justice Department on Thursday for its handling of the prosecution of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and asked the attorney general to investigate the prosecutors in the case.Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday asked a federal court to vacate Stevens’ October conviction on seven counts of failing to report gifts on his annual financial disclosure forms. The case was marred by repeated admissions by prosecutors that they failed to provide the defense with evidence that would have been helpful in making Stevens’ case. Holder announced Wednesday that the misconduct was so severe that he would ask for the indictment against Stevens to be dismissed and that the department would not pursue a new trial.Holder also said that the matter is being investigated by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.On Thursday, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) and five other Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee wrote Holder, saying the “government corruption and prosecutorial misconduct in this case was unfair at best and criminal at worst.— The Members asked Holder “whether you have referred these attorneys to the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility for an investigation of their conduct,— and also asked whether he intends to refer them to the District of Columbia Bar “for investigation into their wrongdoing.—The other signatories were Reps. Howard Coble (N.C.), Ted Poe (Texas), Dan Lungren (Calif.), Steve King (Iowa) and Gregg Harper (Miss.).In Alaska, the state Republican Party asked Democratic Sen. Mark Begich — who narrowly beat Stevens in an election held days after the jury rendered its verdict — to resign and allow for a new special election. Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin also joined the call for Begich to step down.