As the hours tick away until opening statements in the trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, Justice Department prosecutors say they may ask for a continuance if the Williams & Connolly defense team does not immediately produce written summaries of experts who may be called to testify, according to a motion to compel filed Sunday.
Prosecutor Edward Sullivan said the government will request the court to exclude defense expert testimony if written summaries are not turned over in the next 48 hours. Williams & Connolly lawyers say they are not obliged to hand over summaries of expert testimony because the defense team has not asked the government for summaries of their experts.
Prospective jurors are due in court this morning filling out jury questionnaire forms. Voir dire is scheduled Tuesday, with opening statements either in the afternoon or Wednesday—assuming a jury is seated. Stevens, 84, is accused of filing false financial disclosure forms, shielding from public inspection certain gifts and other items.
Sullivan said the Justice Department has been forced to respond to an “extraordinary” number of follow-up requests from Williams & Connolly lawyers, who have pushed for speedy trial in the interest of Stevens—the longest-serving Republican in the Senate who is up for re-election in November. “Notwithstanding the defendant’s unfounded assertions to the contrary, the government has litigated this case in a straightforward manner,” Sullivan wrote in a motion to compel.
The government is seeking the identity of proposed experts and any written statements that detail the testimony the expert would give at trial. The defense has identified one forensic expert, Edward Robinson, a professor at George Washington University. The defense lawyers have also suggested they plan to call a real estate expert to discuss the value of the Stevens home in Girdwood, Alaska. A medical expert could be called to assess the competency of the government's chief witness.
Robinson, according to court papers, is expected to analyze and criticize government photographs of the Stevens residence—referred to as the “chalet” in court papers—in Alaska. The government alleges Stevens benefited from massive renovation work there without reporting it on financial disclosure forms. Robinson, a former civilian forensic services supervisor for the Baltimore County Police Department, wrote in a book in 2007 titled “Crime Scene Photography.”