Stevens’ Attorneys Clash Again With Prosecution

Posted September 12, 2008 at 2:32pm

Attorneys for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) clashed again with federal prosecutors on Friday over exchanging evidence in preparation for the upcoming trial.

Stevens’ attorneys accused federal prosecutors of a “trial by ambush,” asserting the government had not provided its evidence to them in an accessible format, while prosecutor Brenda Morris alleged Stevens was demanding special treatment.

“Within the past 48 hours, the government has provided a list of 1,012 potential trial exhibits that — given the government’s improper manipulation and concealment of relevant electronic information in its production — will compel Senator Stevens to spend multiple days merely to identify the exhibits the government would use against him,” Stevens attorney Robert Cary wrote in a motion filed Friday.

At an emergency pretrial hearing, Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the government to provide paper copies of the documents in question by Saturday morning.

“They shouldn’t have to hunt and peck that way,” Sullivan said.

But federal prosecutor Brenda Morris also took aim at Stevens’ attorneys.

“This could’ve been rectified with a phone call,” a clearly agitated Morris said, noting repeatedly the prosecution has sought to accommodate the trial schedule set at Stevens’ request.

She later added: “Just because he has U.S. Senator before his name doesn’t mean we have to drink out of a fire hose every time they call us.”

Sullivan defended his decision to accommodate Stevens’ trial on a compressed schedule, stating: “This defendant is not being treated any differently than anybody else.”

Stevens, whose trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is charged with seven counts of filing false financial disclosure reports to conceal the receipt of more than $250,000 in gifts over an eight-year period. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.