You can bet the Justice Department was not happy about having to post Williams & Connolly documents on a government Web site during the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens. But a court order is a court order—until the judge vacates it a day a later “upon further consideration.”
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan took a step back, thought about the prosecution-and-defense Web site sharing arrangement, and today decided that Williams & Connolly is responsible for filing and posting its own trial exhibits. Defense documents will not share space on a government Web site.
Prosecutors were clearly against the shared arrangement, saying Williams & Connolly lawyers—representing Stevens, the longest serving Republican in the Senate—should be responsible for posting their exhibits on the firm’s site. A Williams & Connolly partner, Robert Cary, said the firm doesn’t try cases in the press and rejected any suggestion that Williams & Connolly should post documents during a high-profile trial.
Citing the national interest in the Stevens case, Sullivan, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ordered the government Thursday to post defense exhibits on a Justice Department site. Cary was pleased with that. Prosecutor Edward Sullivan was miffed. He called it prejudicial. The judge wasn’t swayed.
Judge Sullivan is directing Williams & Connolly and the government to file trial exhibits daily—no later than 6 p.m.—via the Electronic Case Filing system. The public can pull up the documents for free in the clerk’s office at the U.S. District Court. The Justice Department may end up creating an Internet page for its documents. No word whether Williams & Connolly will do the same.