Day By Day

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our apolitical DoJ

In one of the most shocking displays of prosecutorial abuse, the US government prosecuted and convicted sitting US Senator Ted Stevens of corruption.  The timing of the case was shortly before his re-election vote and Stevens lost his seat.  It turns out that Stevens was wrongfully convicted with the help of prosecutor's misconduct during the trial.  But it was still enough to turn over the Senate seat from Republican to Democrat, and to provide a crucial vote for Obamacare.

The judge in the case had appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the DoJ attorney and their behavior.  As the report on that investigation gave details on the case:
The judge who presided over the Stevens trial appointed Henry F. Schuelke to investigate the prosecutors who handled the case. Schuelke’s 524-page report, which was unsealed this week, paints a picture of a  prosecution team so hampered by infighting that disgruntled attorneys cut corners by assigning document-review duties to FBI and IRS agents who were left largely unsupervised. Crucial information — including the  fact that trial witness Bill Allen had once bribed a child prostitute, whom he’d had a relationship with, to commit perjury, and that the home repairs in question were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars less than originally alleged — was never given to Stevens’ defense team.
Now the DoJ has concluded their own investigation.
The Justice Department has found that two prosecutors involved in the botched 2008 corruption trial of Senator Ted Stevens engaged in “reckless professional misconduct,” but it stopped short of firing the men, saying their mistakes were not intentional.

In a cover letter to a 672-page report provided to Congress on Thursday, alongside additional attachments and findings, the Justice Department said the two prosecutors would be suspended without pay — Joseph Bottini for 40 days, and James Goeke for 15 days….

There was at least one major difference, however: the special prosecutor concluded that Mr. Bottini and Mr. Goeke had intentionally withheld evidence, while the Justice Department investigation found that their mistakes — while showing reckless disregard for their disclosure obligations — were not deliberate.
So there you have it.  You can show reckless disregard in the conduct of a trial, but that's OK to the Obama DoJ.  Because you got what was important....a Senate seat on the Democrat side of the aisle.

Details from The Lonely Conservative and from Legal Insurrection.

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