Thursday, April 9, 2009

What Happened, What It Looked Like, and What It Means (Part Two)


Given that I did not attend the hearing, the best way to present the human side of what happened at Tuesday’s hearing in the Ted Stevens case is to offer extended quotations from the accounts of three sets of reporters who were there:

John Bresnahan in

When the dismissal was announced, some Stevens family members sobbed audibly, and Stevens gave a raised-fist salute to the audience. There was applause in the courtroom as the hearing concluded, and Stevens was greeted by friends, including Richard Ben-Veniste, a prominent D.C. lawyer.

Stevens himself was more grateful than bitter in his courtroom comments.

"Without your experience and vigilance, the truth would never be known," Stevens told Judge Sullivan. "I've had a long career. I served the United States for many years. Until recently, my faith in the criminal system, the judicial system, was unwavering. But what some members of the prosecution team did nearly destroyed that faith. Their conduct has consequences for me that that they will never realize and can never be reversed."

Stevens added: "Today ... my faith has been restored. ... Your actions gave me new hope that others may be spared of similar miscarriages of justice."


Mike Scarcella and Joe Palazzolo, Legal Times:

Stevens individually thanked the [new team of] prosecutors at their table, shaking their hands. [Chief Stevens defense lawyer] Brendan Sullivan praised the new team of lawyers. “But for honest prosecutors, the system would not work,” Sullivan said. He added that the prosecutors knew a loss in the case would be a blight on their careers, and so they flouted the rules to ensure they would win. “The fear of loss drove them to do what they did,” he said.


Nedra Pickler and Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press, via Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

...Stevens gave what amounted to the election victory speech he never had a chance to give. Standing at the courtroom lectern wearing a pin of the U.S. and Alaska flags on his sweater, he recounted his career in government - from flying planes in World War II to serving as U.S. attorney to his storied career in the Senate.

He thanked his friends, his supporters and his wife. And he vowed to push his friends in the Senate for tough new laws on prosecutorial misconduct.

Then, with the prosecution team feeling the scrutiny that Stevens felt for years, he smiled, posed for pictures with his family outside the courthouse and said:

"I'm going to enjoy this wonderful day."

1 comment:

mls said...

What is interesting to me is how and why the DOJ made the decision to prosecute Stevens on a marginal legal theory in the first place. Once that decision was made, the need to avoid the embarassment of an acquittal probably drove the subsequent prosecutorial misconduct.