In the wake of the bungled prosecution of then-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, several U.S. Senators called for the Justice Department to apologize to the family of their late former colleague and fire the prosecutors responsible for failure to turn over evidence to the defense as required.
The strongest statements came from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R.-Utah, a close friend of Stevens who served as a character witness during the five-week trial in 2008. Hatch told the newspaper The Hill that the Justice Department prosecuted the case against Stevens "vindictively" and urged the disbarment of the government lawyers responsible. Hatch said the prosecutors ignored exculpatory evidence that "should have said to them, 'This man should never have been indicted to begin with.'"
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., said that "If you look at the particulars of that case, the system melted down and trophy-hunting became sort of the focus."
The Hill noted that some Senators contacted by the newspaper would not offer public comment on the Stevens case but suggested that the failed prosecution had "made the agency gun-shy to go after other lawmakers accused of wrongdoing."