Thursday, April 02, 2009

a good decision but NOT a vindication

Attorney General Eric Holder has asked the judge to dismiss the federal corruption case against former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, because the prosecution team has repeatedly screwed up, for example not turning over evidence to the defense.

Now that is NOT a vindication for Ted Stevens. There is still the question of Stevens accepting gifts worth over a quarter of a million dollars from "friends," many of whom had business before Congress.

But it is a very good decision by Holder. Prosecutors have a responsibility to make sure they have the case lined up correctly and to be above-board. Despite the fact that Stevens is almost certainly guilty of accepting bribes, Holder made the right call, and I imagine the judge will dismiss the case.

Oh and by the way - can you imagine any of former de facto President Bush's Attorneys General dismissing a case against a member of the Democratic Party because of inappropriate behavior by the prosecutors? Of course not. The Bush Justice Department was more likely to FIRE prosecutors for refusing to charge Democrats when evidence was not there, rather than to fire them for tampering with evidence or just not following correct procedures.

The case was screwed up; the Public Integrity Section at Justice clearly needs reform. But a big nod to Holder for making a difficult but appropriate call. Even if it lets an arrogant jerk like Ted Stevens walk.



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