If Sen. Ted Stevens is not acquitted in his corruption trial, it is not for a lack of effort by the prosecutors who have again been accused of fumbling. This time the prosecutorial error was found not by the court or the defense, but the jurors themselves. The jury noted that the indictment states that Stevens marked “no” in his 2001 report on whether he received any gifts. In fact, he marked “yes.”
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the jury should focus not on the indictment but the evidence. However, Sullivan was mystified, asking the prosecution : “Presumably somebody reads these indictments before they return them?”
The prosecution has already been pounded by the court for a serious act of misconduct in falling to disclose evidence to the defense. It has also been criticized by observers for rambling and unfocused examinations. On top of these problems, there have been two juror controversies in less than a week of deliberations.
Stevens could have not hoped for a better context for the appeal of any conviction. Not since the O.J. Simpson case has a prosecution been so helpful to a criminal defendant.
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