A 2 1/2 year investigation into the bungled prosecution of then-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens found widespread and sometimes intentional misconduct by Justice Department attorneys in that and other Alaska corruption cases. But the special prosecutor who led the review isn't recommending they face any criminal charges.
The conclusions of Washington lawyer Henry F. Schuelke were revealed Monday by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who presided over Stevens' Washington, D.C., trial in the fall of 2008.
The special prosecutor's full 500-plus page report remains under seal, though Sullivan said he expects it to become public after the various players are given a chance to review it and ask for certain parts to remain shielded from the public.
Stevens was convicted on seven counts of lying on his Senate financial disclosure forms, which prosecutors contended he did to conceal gifts from Bill Allen, then the head of oil field services contractor Veco Corp.
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In April 2009, after prosecutors admitted serious missteps, Stevens' convictions were thrown out. Sullivan then appointed Schuelke to evaluate whether anyone on the Stevens prosecution team should be charged with criminal contempt of court.
Some of the questionable government behavior revolves around the handling of Allen as a government witness. He testified against Stevens and two state legislators, but prosecutors withheld crucial information from defense lawyers about sexual abuse allegations against Allen that if revealed to jurors, could have affected his credibility.
Schuelke and a colleague reviewed more than 150,000 pages of documents, interviewed numerous witnesses, and examined the record not only of the Stevens' case but also the federal cases against former state House Speaker Pete Kott and former Rep. Vic Kohring.
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