Judge Nixes Stevens Conviction, Targets Feds

Vows prosecutors will face contempt charges
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2009 12:16 PM CDT
Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, accompanied by his daughters, from left, Beth Stevens, Lilly Stevens, and Susan Covich, leaves federal court in Washington today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A Washington judge officially set aside Ted Stevens' conviction today, and vowed to pursue criminal contempt charges against the Justice Department prosecutors who bungled the case against the former senator, Politico reports. Emmet Sullivan berated prosecutors for withholding potentially crucial evidence: “In 25 years on the bench, I have never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct in this case.”

Stevens’ lawyer called the government’s misconduct “clear, intentional, willful, and tedious,” but the Alaska Republican himself seemed more grateful than angry. “Without your experience and vigilance, the truth would never be known,” he told the judge. “Your actions gave me new hope that others may be spared similar miscarriages of justice.”