Judge to overturn Stevens conviction? Say what?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090407/ap_o n_go_co/stevens

Convicted felon and former Senator Ted "series of tubes" Stevens will be getting another chance to break out the Incredible Hulk neck tie in court today.

The Justice Department has asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to toss out Stevens' conviction and vacate his indictment. If the motion is granted as expected, it will kill a high-profile victory against congressional corruption reached last fall when a jury found the senator had lied about gifts and home renovations.

Wait... the Justice Department, who botched the case for the prosecution so badly that the conviction was in spite of their case rather than because of it, now is asking Judge Sullivan to overturn the ruling?  Why?

Then it hit me.

This is Holder taking out the trash.  

We all know that Stevens is as corrupt as the day is long.  That's not what this is about.  He certainly deserves to pay for his influence peddling, but, in this trial, justice was not served.  

Heck, I figured all along that the trial was what is known on the TV Tropes website as a (if you'll pardon a superhero reference to go along with the Hulk tie) Batman Gambit: a scheme in which someone manipulates those around them to achieve some circuituous end.  In this case, the end of the Bush Justice Department may have been trying to get the case thrown out and exonerate Stevens just before his contentuous election.  If that's true, they didn't figure on the jury convicting him regardless of procedural shenanigans... it turned out to be more of a Vizzini Gambit: You know, where the Sicilian in The Princess Bride switches the cups on The Man In Black, only to find that they were both poisoned?

Regardless, the important thing was that the entire thing was enough of a fiasco that Mark Begich managed to win the senatorial seat, creating an important Democratic landfall in an overly Republican state.  Requesting that the conviction be tossed out now makes Obama and Holder look like they are apolitical and interested in due process and can't really cause too much damage now that the voters have spoken.

The prosecutors who handled the trial have been removed from the case and their conduct is under investigation. Sullivan held Justice Department lawyers in contempt in February for failing to turn over documents and called their behavior "outrageous."

How convenient that this gives the Obama administration a chance to review and likely dismiss a solid chunk of the politicized Bush Justice Department.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/01/s tevens.case.dropped/index.html

[Stevens' lawyer, Brendan] Sullivan said the Justice Department was forced to request the dismissal because of "extraordinary evidence of government corruption."

Sometimes the excessive irony of a situation makes it all worthwhile.

Tags: Justice Department, Ted Stevens (all tags)



I may be a couple days late

I had jury duty yesterday, so I'm not on top of things.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-07 06:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Judge to overturn Stevens conviction?

I don't believe in the theories which hold that the Bush DOJ intentionally botched the prosecution.  If their goal was to do Stevens a big favor, they could have just, you know, declined to prosecute him.  Considering how many allegations of corruption there are in politics and how few cases get brought, it wouldn't have raised an eyebrow.

My honest understanding is that many of the individuals on the prosecution team predate Bush are unlikely to have been part of a conspiracy to throw the trial.

I think Holder is simply doing the right thing here, realizing that the misconduct that occurred is indefensible and very likely to lead to a reversal of the verdict that would give the DOJ a major black eye.  With Stevens having lost his election, the urgency to pursue a retrial is lessened, and honestly some of the exculpatory evidence is compelling enough that I wouldn't know how to handicap the outcome of a retrial.  Good call to just let it go IMO.

by Steve M 2009-04-07 06:31AM | 0 recs
You may be right

The rule about conspiracies is to never attribute to evil what could be attributed to simple stupidity, but it's still fun to speculate.

Regardless of the outcome, I'm glad that our DoJ is starting to pursue good justice... apolitical justice.

Stevens is an old man and the liklihood of a political comeback is very small.  I'm inclined to let this go if it means that future investigations are going to be clean and competant.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-07 06:38AM | 0 recs
I hope you're wrong...

...about Stevens' chance at a comeback. Don Young has encouraged a run for governor. I believe he has a solid shot at overthrowing Alaska's Hillbilly-in-Chief.

by Spiffarino 2009-04-07 06:48AM | 0 recs

It's kinda grating to hope that a criminal overturns a fascist lunatic, but I suppose you have a point.

Of course, I suppose the best outcome would be for Stevens to primary out Palin and then lose to... a Democrat.  I don't know who we have up there besides Begich.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-07 08:08AM | 0 recs

Ted pwning Sarah would be too awesome for words.

by TexasDarling 2009-04-07 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Judge to overturn Stevens conviction?

"Let is go" is right. We have seen enough of prosecutorial overreach.

Stevens is a slime; overzealous, unethical prosecutors are worse.

by MAL Contends 2009-04-07 07:05AM | 0 recs
Let's be fair

I want Siegelman's conviction overturned, too.

by vcalzone 2009-04-07 06:55AM | 0 recs
Very good point

This could be excellent political cover to overturn Siegelman's conviction.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-07 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Very good point

The technicality is that Siegelman has already been sentenced, unlike Stevens, so it's not as simple as the DOJ going to the judge and asking for him to be let go.

by Steve M 2009-04-07 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Very good point

But it's a good place to start.

by vcalzone 2009-04-07 01:22PM | 0 recs


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