Ted “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens, the disgraced Alaska Senator, has had his corruption conviction dropped.
Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder decided to drop the charges due to prosecutorial misconduct and overreach.
In a statement, he said: “After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defence for use at trial… In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial.”
This is a good development for guys like former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling and other victims of wild prosecutors who sought to win convictions at any cost.
James Joyner of Outside The Beltway has more:
Unfortunately, while I have no reasonable doubt that Stevens was guilty of the crimes with which he was charged, I also believe Holder is doing the right thing here. It’s well past time to reign in federal prosecutors who, in high profile cases, seem willing to use any means necessary to get their man.
Whether we’re talking Iran-Contra, Whitewater, Monicagate, Martha Stewart, Lewis Libby, William Jefferson, Ted Stevens, or Rod Blagojevich, a team of really smart lawyers armed with extreme confidence that they’ve got a bad guy in their sites, unlimited resources, and operating under the white hot glare of the media spotlight, will figure out how to bring charges. In most, if not all, of those cases, there actually is/was underlying wrongdoing on the part of the accused. But making charges stick is often tricky.
Obviously, today’s move doesn’t set any kind of meaningful precedent. But it’s refreshing to see prosecutors get slapped down every now and then, and to know that there’s someone at the Justice Department who thinks it’s a significant issue.