Thursday, July 30, 2009

Order on Compelled Testimony, Again


I've reviewed the order issued by the court Tuesday allowing the special counsel investigating discovery failures by the prosecutors in the Ted Stevens trial. As noted yesterday, that court order grants that special counsel the power to issue subpoenas to those six prosecutors plus the lead FBI agent on the case, star prosecution witness Bill Allen, and Bill Allen's attorney. The six prosecutors are under the microscope to see if they committed criminal contempt.

Persons ordered to testify under oath have the right--subject to narrow exceptions--to claim the right not to do so under their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves, as Rich Mauer pointed out in yesterday's edition of the Anchorage Daily News. As Harper's blogger Scott Horton has noted, however, it would be odd indeed for Department of Justice lawyers to exercise that Fifth Amendment right and remain as federal prosecutors. (Horton' s post is at on the Internet, and is one of several he has written on the Ted Stevens case and the follow-on probe of the prosecutors. This lawyer's blog is also worth reading for his coverage of issues involving torture.)

Disclosure: I worked briefly with Bill Allen's attorney Bob Bundy back in the 1980s in the Anchorage District Attorney's Office, and both Bill Allen and Bob Bundy are my neighbors in the adjoining West Anchorage neighborhoods of South Addition and Bootlegger's Cove.


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