The FBI will post the bureau’s file on the late Sen. Ted Stevens today, which could clear up some questions about the long serving Alaska Republican who was found guilty in a corruption trial but had his case tossed out due to prosecutorial misconduct.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a representative of the FBI’s Records Management Division told TPM this week that the file would be posted on the bureau’s website today due to the high interest in the case.
Stevens was found guilty in 2008 on seven counts of making false statements. But in 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder had a new team of prosecutors file a motion to dismiss the indictment because the prosecution reportedly didn’t turn over an interview with Bill Allen, the star witness for the government.
So what should you be looking for once the file is posted?
“All the incredible evidence of Stevens’ guilt, of which there is a lot,” says Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “No matter what else everybody wants to say, and no matter what Jeff Toobin wants to write in the New Yorker, Stevens was guilty as sin of everything. The prosecution screwed up outrageously, but that doesn’t mean Stevens wasn’t guilty of everything.” (Toobin’s piece centered on the Justice Department’s treatment of Stevens prosecutor Nicholas Marsh, who committed suicide last year. Toobin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.)
It’s unclear just how much information will be in the file about the alleged actions of FBI agents who may have botched the case against the long-serving Alaska politician. Shortly after Stevens’ conviction, one FBI agent accused prosecutors and FBI agents of conspiring to withhold and conceal evidence that could have helped the defense. He said that the government sent a key witness back to Alaska because he performed poorly in a mock trial.
That agent, Chad Joy, also said that fellow FBI agent Mary Beth Kepner had flirtatious relationship with Allen, and suggested that as “a surprise/present” she wore revealing clothes when he testified in court. A draft of an Office of Professional Responsibility report on the case reportedly makes a misconduct finding for Kepner.
But its unlikely the file, which will likely include statements from witnesses and could potentially reveal new evidence of the senator’s activities, will do much in the way of his reputation.
“It wouldn’t clear up the problems with the prosecution, nothing can. We’re still waiting on that report, which is taking a ridiculous time as everything does with the Justice Department,” Sloan said. “I don’t think any of it will excuse the Justice Department’s rotten behavior, but that said, I think perhaps it will put an end to all this ‘poor Ted Stevens’ crap, which is just junk.”
Late Update: The FBI file has now been posted. Here’s a first look at the massive file, more to come.