Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), convicted on seven federal corruption charges for failing to disclose more than $250,000 in improper gifts, formally filed a request for a new trial today.
Stevens' attorneys asked to file portions of the request under seal, citing sensitve information in the motion related to ongoing criminal investigations by the Justice Department.
According to the defense team, federal prosecutors lied and withheld exculpatory evidence during the trial. Brendan Sullivan, Stevens' lead attorney, tried several times to get the case dismissed, arguing that DOJ failed to meet "discovery" requirements mandated by federal trial procedure. Judge Emmet Sullivan repeatedly denied these motions, although he did express anger at prosecutors multiple times. A DOJ watchdog agency is now reviewing prosecutors' actions during the trial.
Senator Stevens was entitled to a fair trial," Stevens' attorneys said in today's motion. When the government proffers false evidence and withholds key exculpatory evidence; when improper hearsay evidence forms the linchpin of the government’s case; when the indictment conceals the nature of the charges and the government then emphasizes uncharged conduct; and when jurors lie to the Court and opine that 'all politicians are guilty,' the defendant has not received a fair trial."
The new motion will also includes "personal information regarding certain jurors that should remain confidential pending the Court’s consideration of what steps should be taken in light of that information, and (b) information regarding other criminal investigations, which the Court has previously ordered
sealed at the government’s request," according to court filing by Stevens' attorneys.
It is unclear what Stevens' lawyers are referring to regarding "personal information" about the jurors. There was controversy during the trial when one juror abruptly left during deliberations to attend a family funeral and never returned. Judge Sullivan later interviewed that juror and no charges were filed.
"Multiple instances of juror misconduct prejudiced Senator Stevens’ Fifth Amendment
right to due process and Sixth Amendment right to trial by an impartial jury," Stevens' attorneys wrote.
"The misconduct included false statements on Juror Questionnaires, juror bias, juror flight and substitution. The cumulative effect of these acts is overwhelming, and a new trial should be granted."
According to defense attorneys, "Since the end oftrial, however, defense counsel have identified multiple statements by two paneled jurors on their Juror Questionnaires that counsel now believe to be false."