Judge Follows Request by Stevens Lawyer

Posted April 7, 2009 at 4:21pm

The judge in the trial of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) issued a terse order Tuesday afternoon dismissing the corruption charges against him, setting aside the jury’s guilty verdict and granting the defense request for an explicit statement that Stevens was never “convicted.—

Stevens was found guilty in October of seven counts for lying on his financial disclosure forms, and he lost his re-election bid a week later.

But the government has since admitted that it mishandled the case and failed to hand over key evidence to the defense. A new prosecution team tapped by Attorney General Eric Holder asked the court last week to vacate the verdict and dismiss the indictment against Stevens, convinced that the misconduct by the original prosecutor was too serious to remedy.

Tuesday morning, the judge agreed to dismiss the case, but Stevens’ attorney asked the judge to do so in a way that would make clear that Stevens “hasn’t been convicted of any crime.—

Late Tuesday afternoon, U. S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan complied, issuing an order declaring, “There was never a judgment of conviction in this case. The jury’s verdict is being set aside and has no legal effect.—

Sullivan has also launched a criminal contempt investigation of the original prosecution team.