The jurors deciding the fate of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens sent a note to Judge Emmet Sullivan earlier today, saying they had found a conflict between the evidence and the indictment and wanted to know what they should do.
The conflict stems from the financial disclosure form that Stevens filed in 2002. On the form, Stevens indicated that he had received gifts and items during the previous year. In the indictment, however, the prosecution says Stevens did not check the box that indicates he had received certain items of value.
Prosecutors Nicholas Marsh and Brenda Morris said the error in the indictment was inadvertent and typographical.
Judge Sullivan, however, did not agree with the prosecution’s claim that the error was merely a typo, saying that was clearly not the case.
"The jury is very perceptive. They aren't missing anything," he said.
Last week, the jury sent a note asking for a missing page of the indictment.
The judge plans to address the jurors at 1:45 p.m. today, after their lunch break.
He said he plans to tell them, "You must consider all of the evidence and my instructions to determine whether the government has proven each element of an offense in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt."
Sullivan also said he plans to tell the jurors that the indictment is not evidence.
UPDATE (1:59): Williams & Connolly partner Craig Singer wanted the judge to instruct jurors that they must find Stevens not guilty if the evidence does not support the indictment. The judge thought that instruction went too far.
The defense did not say whether they believed the error was intentional.