Stevens Cleared of All ChargesApril 1, 2009 - by Donny Shaw
The corruption charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens involving $250,000 in undisclosed gifts from an oil company have been thrown out by the Department of Justice. Stevens’ conviction on seven felony counts of ethics violations caused him to lose his seat in the Senate last year after serving Alaska for 40 years.
From Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement on the decision:
In connection with the post-trial litigation in United States v. Theodore F. Stevens, the Department of Justice has conducted a review of the case, including an examination of the extent of the disclosures provided to the defendant. After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense 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.
NPR’s Nina Totenberg reports that Holder’s decisions to drop the charges was influenced by Stevens’ old age and the fact that he is no longer in the Senate. Beyond those factors, Holder also saw the dismissal as a chance to send the message, as stated by Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT] that he is “committed to the rule of law, regardless of politics.”
The Department of Justice must always ensure that any case in which it is involved is handled fairly and consistent with its commitment to justice.
For more background on the case, see the OpenCongress Wiki: Ted Stevens/Veco corruption investigation