FBI Agent Accuses Stevens Prosecution of Misconduct

Posted December 22, 2008 at 5:29pm

An FBI agent involved in building the criminal case against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has filed a complaint accusing others in the government with misconduct in dealing with witnesses and handling evidence in the case.

The agent — in an eight-page complaint heavily redacted to remove names, gender references and any other identifying information — alleges that during his participation in the investigation of corruption in Alaska, “I have witnessed or learned of serious violations of policy, rules, and procedures as well as possible criminal violations.”

The agent alleges that someone on the prosecution team had inappropriate personal relationships with sources in the case. This person also “unnecessarily disclosed details about FBI investigations … and would accept things of value from sources,” according to the agent. The complaint lists several sources who were “mishandled,” but all of the names have been redacted with the exception of Bill Allen, the former head of the oil services company VECO.

Stevens was convicted on seven counts of failing to report gifts he had accepted from Allen and others, and Allen was a key witness in the prosecution’s case against the Senator. The complaint alleges that a government official provided Allen with information about others who were testifying before the grand jury, and provided Allen with details of the case. The anonymous agent alleges that during Allen’s testimony, somebody on the prosecution team wore something special as “a surprise/present for Allen.”

A member of the prosecution team also received gifts from potential witnesses, including employment for a relative, the agent alleges. The complaint also alleges that someone on the prosecution team intentionally withheld from the defense team evidence that should have been handed over by the government.

The judge on several occasions during the trial chastised the prosecution for failing to turn over evidence to the defense, and the prosecution apologized for making mistakes in handling evidence. But the agent making the complaint alleged that members of the prosecution team “intentionally redacted … material that defense counsel was entitled to receive.”

The complaint also alleges that the prosecutors developed a scheme to send a VECO employee who was in Washington preparing for the trial back to Alaska in order to prevent the defense from getting access to him — and to the exculpatory information he could have provided.

Less than two hours after the whistle-blower complaint was made public, Stevens’ attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case entirely. The complaint “confirms what the defense has long believed and alleged: the government cheated and lied in order to obtain a verdict against Senator Ted Stevens,” his lawyers wrote.

Stevens’ attorneys filed motions to dismiss the case several times during the trial on the grounds of alleged prosecutorial misconduct. With the emergence of the whistle-blower complaint, “we now know from a government insider that the prosecution’s misconduct was far more pervasive than previously revealed,” Stevens team argued. “An FBI Special Agent has alleged that his or her colleagues engaged in intentional constitutional violations in the course of investigating this defendant and others … the court should dismiss the indictment or, at a minimum, grant a new trial.”