Friday, April 03, 2009

Why The Charges Were Dropped Against Former Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens

There is a core of about 12 senior Senators and Reps who control the portions of wealth and privilege to most actors in government and their clients. It's kind of like a consulting firm in which the most important things to keep straight are shifting motives and where the bodies are buried, and they can't be in the core without earning black belts in corruption. Ted Stevens was there for a long time, but he got pushed out of the Circle of Trust, out of the Tree House when he openly cried on the Senate floor, "You're all going to pay for this!" So it was no surprise when corruption charges were levied against him.

Still, I was puzzled and disgusted when the new Justice dropped the charges. With that and so many other things, however, the former Department was dealing Stevens a hand from the same marked deck as it did everybody else. In a highly competent and intellectually unsparing post, the Bee Keeper's Apprentice lays out why Eric Holder did the right thing in dropping the charges. The prosecutors had messed with the Rules of Evidence:

For the last eight years, we have all seen what can happen when the highest prosecutors in the land are ruled not by the rules of evidence and law, but by the rules of cronyism and politics. This is why I believe that President Obama hit it out of the park when he appointed Eric Holder as Attorney General. Holder seems to know, and respect, the rules of evidence and law. We don't have to be happy with his decision to drop the case against former Senator from Alaska Ted Stevens, but we do have to respect Holder's decision. Stevens, who was indicted and convicted of ethics violations for not disclosing "gifts" in excess of $250,000, will walk free on a technicality. And I agree that he should walk.

Notes were found in the former prosecutors files. Notes that would have helped Stevens defense attorneys to cross-examine the testimony of Bill Allen, whose testimony helped convict Stevens. Notes that were not provided to the defense team during discovery. Notes that might have cast doubt on Allen's testimony, which suddenly doesn't look quite as bullet-proof as it once did. Notes that were required by the rules of evidence to be turned over to the defense.

How typical. They stacked the deck, and didn't even need to against Stevens. Bee, a legal beagle by day, clarified not just this case but also its over-arching umbrella. The first and most important thing for our country to do is start playing by the rules again, by our good well-proven rules. Helluva post, read in full if you want here. In turn, Bee triggered a related insight.

There's a different angle on prosecuting Bush: his modes of behavior aren't going to change. He is a professional criminal. It's what he does. He has in no wise gone straight and he's going to do other illegal things going forward. If I were Holder's boss, I'd tell him to leave the past to Congress and assign a small team of smart kids to keep an eye on W and his transactions. He will transgress further because of what he is. Guaranteed. The opportunity to impeach or prosecute him for the past was already gone, but there is plenty of uncertain future ahead, and the game is about making the rules re-apply. Even to him.


A. Peasant said...

The people in power apply the Rule of Law selectively. They ignore it until they get caught, and then they apply it, as in this case, and end up looking like heroes? Pfft. I think not. But yes I am a bitch.

Anonymous said...

He's too old to prosecute. Too old to run for the Senate again. Even so, I'd love to see him on the ballot for Governor in 2010.

Bee said...

They might at least find that, through whatever boards of Large & Dangerous Corporations Bush, Cheney & gang end up sitting on, there will be insider trading although both have been rumored to have partaken of that in the past, with no repercussions to speak of. Although I could see Bush going back to the bottle (again, rumored to have already), and running some poor schmuck over in the road. The possiblities are limited, yet infinite.

And I am honored, sir.

Unknown said...

You can give Eric 'State Secrets' Holder all the praise you want. In my opinion he's just another staus quo politician, upholding many of the illegalities instituted by the Bush Adm. He has been obstructing and obscufating the courts on illegal wire-tapping, torture, et al since the day he took office.

Damn the cost, and prosecutorial misconduct, Stevens should have been re-tried. Whether he would be convicted or acquited is just speculation. Juries are fickle. We have innocent men sitting on death row, and there are those like OJ, in which the evidence was overwhelming, walk free.

The appearance of 'following the Rule of Law' one time, does not make him a saint to be adored or worshiped.

coffee maker said...

it's fitting that they announced the dismissal of Ted Steven's case on April 1st

MarcLord said...


they wrote a book about it, it was called Ancient Rome.

Holder is at least a technocrat.

MarcLord said...


I'd slam his ass in jail if he were 90, but your point is valid. And yes it would be a hoot if ran for Gov in ought ten and displaced the Super Twat.

MarcLord said...

Hey Bee,

my pleasure. As for Bush, it really depends on if the wealth system can continue to protect itself. Obama keeps jiggling the frame, but it's like moving three inches on a football field. So while I'm not terribly hopeful, when these things break they tend to break quick and big, like dirt that looks fine but has been asked to absorb too much water it lets go of a sudden.

MarcLord said...

Bro Tim,

not adoring Holder. Not by any means. He's just another Eichmann, but that does mean he's better than the other guys, and Bee's post was valuable for its legal insight. The Bu-shites screwed up the case against Stevens, more spilled milk and another entitled perp walks under the rules.

Maintaining the appearance of the rules whether it's in a family, a city, or a country is basic. Yeah everybody tries to tilt them and many succeed but if those appearances are just kept up the rules have power.

MarcLord said...

coffee maker,

welcome, and I never discount symbology.

A. Peasant said...

i believe you are sassing me, marc lord. well i never....

Phil said...

My feeling was that they really didn't want to prosecute Uncle Ted, and that they'd find a way to blow it. I was genuinely surprised at the conviction.

Guess they left a poison pill as insurance against the conviction. I think they knew exactly what they were doing.

Just take him out on a longliner and drown him.

MarcLord said...


The drowning idea has some real fins.