What a showdown! But will it happen? Williams & Connolly partner Brendan Sullivan Jr., lead counsel for Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (pictured on the left), is arguing for a chance to question government prosecutors and federal agents under oath about their interaction with a witness who claims the government induced him to lie on the stand.
The witness, Alaska resident David A. Anderson, who worked on the Stevens home in Alaska, claimed in a letter to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan this month that he would have testified differently at the Stevens trial had it not been for what he suggested was government manipulation of his memory.
Anderson showed an “unusually detailed recollection” of the renovation work done at the Stevens home, Brendan Sullivan wrote in a brief seeking an evidentiary hearing. Sullivan has scheduled a status conference—a “brief hearing,” according to an order—for Monday at 10:30 a.m. It wasn’t immediately known whether Stevens—who lost his re-election bid—will take a seat in court.
Prepping witnesses for trial—reviewing transcripts and evidence—is common. But Anderson claims the government went overboard—putting him alone in a room with documents he was told not to read. “Of course I read it all,” he said in his letter to Judge Sullivan. Anderson even said he called a friend to recount grand jury transcripts that he’d read. The Anderson letter was unsolicited, Brendan Sullivan (pictured below) said in court papers.
Anderson wrote in the letter—in which he talks about an immunity agreement he made with the prosecution—that he is not represented by counsel. Anderson claimed he agreed to cooperate in exchange that family members would not be prosecuted. On the stand, he disavowed that agreement.
“Before I took the witness stand that day I had the understanding that the agreement would be honored or I would never have testified,” Anderson wrote in the typed letter dated Nov. 15. “I would have pleaded the Fifth.” Anderson said in the letter: “Without a shadow of a doubt I believe this trial would have gone much differently.”
Lead Justice Department prosecutor Brenda Morris, principal deputy chief of the Public Integrity Section, calls Anderson’s letter false. There was never any immunity given to Anderson and his family members, Morris wrote in a brief.
Prosecutors say they have “substantial” evidence—including documents and video surveillance—that proves Anderson is not only lying but also colluded with “an interested party in the preparation and transmission” of the letter. Morris said last week the government would describe and submit that evidence this week. No additional evidence, however, has been provided in the public record.