Bill Allen, the government's chief witness in the prosecution of former Sen. Ted Stevens, is scheduled to be sentenced today in federal district court in Alaska, where a judge will have to weigh Allen's extensive cooperation against the seriousness of his crimes.
Justice Department prosecutors want Allen, former owner of the oil services company VECO, to serve 46 months in prison for his role as a leader in criminal activity that involved a number of public officials in Alaska. Allen pleaded guilty in May 2007 to charges that included bribery and conspiracy to commit extortion. He is scheduled to be sentenced today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska.
“Despite his limitations, Mr. Allen provided extensive, truthful, and timely cooperation that has provided the government with relevant information in over a dozen criminal investigations,” a lawyer for Allen, White & Case partner George Terwilliger III, said in court papers filed this month in Alaska. From August 2006 until April 2009, Allen submitted to at least 70 debriefings with federal agents, according to court records.
In court papers filed Oct. 21, Terwilliger said punishment that includes a $150,000 fine and a 12-month sentence—six months in prison and the rest in home detention—is appropriate.
Stevens’ lawyers at Williams & Connolly have been highly critical of Allen, saying that he was in a position to tell the government whatever it wanted to hear because of incentives provided to him in a cooperation agreement.
At a panel discussion Friday sponsored by the Federalist Society, Williams & Connolly partner Robert Cary, a lawyer for Stevens, criticized the lengths to which the government accommodated Allen. Those incentives included the government’s decision not to indict Allen’s company, VECO, and the decision not prosecute any of Allen’s children.
In April, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the jury verdict against Stevens and tapped a special prosecutor to investigate the government lawyers who handled the case.
The special prosecutor, Henry Schuelke III of Washington's Janis, Shuelke & Wechsler, is investigating whether any member of the prosecution team intentionally violated court orders to turn over information to Stevens lawyers. The collapse of the Stevens trial centers in part around Allen’s trial testimony and statements he made earlier in the investigation.
The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has contacted Allen, Terwilliger said in court papers, and Allen is cooperating with the OPR investigation of the prosecution team. Terwilliger also said Allen has met with Schuelke.