Alaskans for Justice respond to DOJ report

The recent announcement by the Department of Justice was yet another example of the shameful failure of the Attorney General and the Department to support and defend the Constitution in the Stevens case.

The Department announced that two of the prosecutors in Senator Stevens’ case were guilty of “reckless professional misconduct” in their lawless and dishonest attack on the Senator. In the same breath, it announced that the punishment for this shameful misconduct was a 40 day suspension without pay for one prosecutor and 15 days without pay for the other.

The Department’s message to Alaskans and all Americans is clear: Federal prosecutors reserve the right to persecute any American, even one who dedicated his life to public service like Senator Stevens, without due process, without evidence, and without mercy. In the event they are caught in the act of violating the Constitution, the Department will do whatever it needs to do to protect its own. The Department will lavish due process on the guilty prosecutors, pay their legal expenses, and bend over backwards to show them mercy regardless of the evidence of their guilt.

In essence, after a multi-year investigation and an independent counsel report that condemned the behavior of nearly the entire prosecutorial team, the Department of Justice has rewarded two prosecutors who it admits are guilty of reckless professional misconduct by giving them an unpaid vacation. As far as the Attorney General and the Department are concerned, the Constitution and ordinary Americans can go to hell.

Ted Stevens was a national leader and Alaska’s longtime champion in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was more than a politician. A decorated World War II pilot, he was a statesman who worked across party lines to build Alaska’s economy, improve the lives of Alaskans, and strengthen America’s defenses. He was his party’s longest-serving senator. In his private life, he was a devoted family man and an avid athlete and fisherman.

And in 2008, he was branded a criminal.

A jury found Sen. Stevens guilty of seven counts of failing to report gifts. The Senator was publicly disgraced, shamed in the press, and abandoned by several of his colleagues. One week after the verdict was handed down, the Senator lost his seventh bid for re-election by a narrow margin.

But he didn’t get a fair trial.

The jury’s verdict never resulted in a conviction. Instead, the judge threw out the verdict because of gross misconduct by the federal prosecutors and investigators and ordered an independent examination of their actions by a special counsel.

In his report, released in March 2012, the special counsel concluded that the prosecutors and investigators intentionally introduced false evidence into the trial, including allowing a witness to deliver false testimony under oath, and failed to disclose evidence that would have helped prove the Senator’s innocence. In doing so, they violated the Constitution, federal laws, and their ethical obligations as officers of the court. They also robbed Alaskans of their champion in Washington, D.C.

He wasn’t alone.

Tragically, Ted Stevens didn’t live to see his name cleared. He died in 2010, more than a year and a half before the release of a 525-page report documenting the extent of the prosecution’s extraordinary misconduct. None of the prosecutors or investigators who persecuted the Senator and drove him out of office has been terminated or even publicly reprimanded by the Department of Justice. Worse, media reports indicate that the Senator was hardly alone in his mistreatment. A recent USA Today investigation found 200 more stories of Americans who were unjustly convicted of crimes because prosecutors broke the rules.

If it happened to Ted, it can happen to you. Sign on now to lend your voice to the demand for justice – not just for Ted, but for all Alaskans.