The Justice Department will be dropping all charges against former Senator Ted Steven (R., Alaska) due to the misconduct of its own prosecutors. The actions of the Justice Department in the case has been a continued scandal and the question is now what action will be taken against these prosecutors who scuttled a major criminal case through unethical and grossly negligent conduct. On closer examination, however, the action by Attorney General Eric Holder falls a bit short.
What is astonishing is that the Justice Department took this long to do the right thing despite numerous hearing with Judge Sullivan who was quite angry at the unethical practices. Instead, they continued to force litigation and waste the court’s time in trying to avoid such consequences. It is throwing in the towel just before the court was expected to impose serious sanctions, including a hearing schedule this month of the case. Notably, by voiding the case, the Justice Department may also hope to end the increasingly embarrassing inquiry into its actions during the case and the role of specific prosecutors (including high-ranking officials still at DOJ).
While insisting that it is taking the high ground (shortly before the court ordered the same sanction), the Justice Department is strangely silent on the disciplining of these prosecutors. This punishment is being borne not by the prosecutors but the public. Stevens has long been a scandal in the Senate. If such conduct “will not be tolerated,” one would expect an announcement of the review and possible discipline of the prosecutors, including the possible referral to their bars.
For the full story, click here.