A lawyer for Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens said today that the Williams & Connolly defense team wants to call one of Washington’s best-known white-collar lawyers as a defense witness to provide testimony on prosecutorial discretion—and Martha Stewart.
Williams & Connolly partner Robert Cary said Sutherland Asbill & Brennan white-collar chairman William “Billy” Martin would testify about what people mean they talk about the legal milieu in which Martha Stewart was charged and convicted. Stewart was sentenced in 2004 to five months in prison for giving false information to investigators about a stock sale.
Jurors heard a recording of Stevens telling a friend, Bill Allen, that Stewart went to prison not for insider trading but for “[lying] about a conversation she had with somebody.” Stevens is charged with failing to report more than $200,000 in renovations and gifts on his Senate financial disclosure forms—but he faces no charges for accepting the goods.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan did not immediately rule whether to allow Martin to testify for the defense. Justice Department lawyer Nick Marsh of the Public Integrity Section objected to Martin as a witness, arguing that the testimony of Allen—the government’s chief witness—stands on its own.
Judge Sullivan rejected a defense motion for judgment of acquittal, a win for government lawyers who have struggled in the last week to maintain their credibility in the eyes of the judge.
Judge Sullivan admonished Public Integrity Lawyers yesterday and last week for, among other things, intentionally presenting false evidence and withholding discovery materials. The judge struck certain pieces of evidence from the record—telling jurors this afternoon in a rare instruction that the government had an obligation to turn over information to the defense and failed to do so. Government lawyers fought vigorously to block the judge from addressing the panel.
The defense kicked off its presentation to jurors this afternoon with testimony from Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Democrat, who told jurors that Stevens, a longtime friend, is an honest man. “His word is good. I’ve never known him to lie,” said Inouye, a Senator since 1963. Williams & Connolly lawyers want to include at least 10 character witnesses—but Judge Sullivan indicated that three or four may all that he allows.