A special agent with the FBI is accusing government prosecutors in the Ted Stevens case of intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence from Stevens’ lawyers and scheming to conceal a witness from the defense team.
The whistleblower, whose name was redacted from an eight-page complaint released this afternoon, has worked for the FBI since 2003. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who presided over the Stevens trial, approved redacting the whistleblower’s name and the identities of those accused of misconduct.
The allegations the agent raises could ultimately substantiate claims by Stevens’ lawyers that the government intentionally withheld evidence favorable to the Alaska senator. During trial, Judge Sullivan excoriated the prosecution for what he deemed were intentional violations of procedure. The prosecution’s case more than once teetered on the brink of collapse.
Among the allegations in the whistleblower complaint: the prosecution intentionally redacted FBI reports to make the information mirror what had been given to the Williams & Connolly defense team. The FBI agent also says that a Public Integrity Section prosecutor devised a scheme to relocate a government witness who was under a defense subpoena. In court, Judge Sullivan fumed at the prosecution for moving the witness from D.C. back to Alaska.
“A whistleblower complaint submitted by a Special Agent with the FBI now confirms what the defense has long believed and alleged: the government cheated and lied in order to obtain a verdict against Senator Ted Stevens,” Williams & Connolly partner Robert Cary wrote in a renewed motion to dismiss, which was filed this evening. “The new whistleblower complaint shows unmistakably that government representatives lied to the court or stood by silently while other members of the prosecution team represented facts to the court that simply were not true.”
Cary calls the complaint "perhaps the most shocking and important" revelation in the case against Stevens (pictured at the right). A copy of the defense motion to dismiss is here.
Government lawyers and the Williams & Connolly team argued in closed sessions last week about whether to release the whistleblower complaint. The defense team urged Judge Sullivan to publish an unredacted complaint. The government, citing the wishes of the FBI agent, did not want the complaint released in any form.
“There were many serious problems I encountered in the recent trial of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens that frustrated me and I feel many of them stem from case mismanagement that occurred for too long,” the FBI agent wrote in the complaint.
The agent says efforts to rectify problems through supervisors failed. The FBI’s core values, the agent says, have not been upheld. The whistleblower, who has retained counsel, writes about being concerned about retaliation: “I am absolutely outside my comfort zone by reporting my concerns beyond my efforts in this document.”
Judge Sullivan has ordered all pleadings related to the whistleblower’s complaint sealed. Stevens’ lawyers are set to argue in February a motion for a new trial. Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, lost his seat in a close race to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. He has vowed to fight on to clear his name. A sentencing date has not been set.