Williams & Connolly lawyers representing Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens fumed over the Justice Department’s filing of secret documents in November in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that the defense team—and the public—was not given a chance to challenge the ex parte filing.
A Justice Department prosecutor is now requesting permission from U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to withdraw the ex parte documents, which were submitted in the Stevens case in response to a government witness, David Anderson, alleging that his trial testimony was coaxed by the prosecution. A hearing to explore Anderson’s claims is set for next month.
The ex parte court papers detailed an unrelated, uncharged investigation that prosecutors did not want the public—and Stevens’ lawyers—to know about. Brenda Morris, principal deputy chief of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, said in a motion this week that the filing of the ex parte communication last month was appropriate.
Judge Sullivan (pictured at the right) questioned the filing of the documents, saying in an order that he’d reminded government lawyers in September about the procedure for filing documents under seal. The judge has yet to decide whether to allow the government to withdraw the filing.
Morris, in the government’s motion, takes a shot at the Stevens’ lawyers. She alleges that Williams & Connolly lawyers made multiple ex parte submissions to the court without providing the government anything to substantiate the need to file ex parte communication.
Morris late Monday filed a public response to Anderson’s allegations about his trial testimony, which first surfaced in November in a letter he claims he sent to the judge and to the defense. The response includes evidence that had been contained in the ex parte correspondence.
Prosecutors say they have FBI video surveillance from a FedEx Kinko’s store in Anchorage that shows that an Anderson relative who is under criminal investigation “physically transmitted” the letter using a fax machine. Anderson was with the relative in the store.
“Anderson’s allegations are factually incorrect, fraudulently presented, and designed to help exculpate from criminal prosecution an individual wholly unrelated to the Stevens trial,” Morris wrote in a brief. Morris said in the brief: “To be clear, the government firmly denies ever directing, coaching or suggesting any aspect of Anderson’s testimony at trial.”