Note to the Justice Department, FBI, and IRS: Don’t destroy any evidence in the Ted Stevens prosecution.
That order came from U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, acting on his own, on Sunday. Sullivan demanded the immediate preservation of e-mails, notes, memos, investigative files, audio recordings, and electronically stored information. The judge didn’t provide any context to the order.
In a separate order, the judge Sunday ordered the Justice Department to turn over to the court by 10 a.m. today copies of all the material the department has gathered in the post-trial phase of the Stevens case. Prosecutors have been turning over that evidence, by court order, to Stevens’ lawyers at Williams & Connolly. Sullivan wants to take a look at the material, too. It wasn't immediately known this morning whether Justice fulfilled its obligation to turn over documents.
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced Justice was moving to dismiss the Stevens case because, among other things, prosecutors failed to turn over critical evidence to the defense lawyers. Holder cited the “totality of the circumstances” in the case but did not elaborate. Prosecutors were accused during trial of neglecting their obligation to turn over exculpatory information in a timely manner.
Also, three Justice Department lawyers were found in contempt in February for failing to turn over to the defense documents related to an FBI's whistle-blower complaint that alleges FBI and prosecution misconduct. Sullivan has not announced when he will hold a sanctions hearing.
There’s a hearing Tuesday at 10 a.m. where the judge will hear the government’s motion to dismiss the Stevens case.