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WASHINGTON D.C.-Calling it a disgrace, a group of non-partisan Senators are calling for the Department of Justice to issue an apology to the wife of late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. They are also calling for the firing of the Department of Justice employees that with-held evidence in the case of the late senator.
The 2008 case against Stevens was a lengthy one and ended just one week before the elections with a guilty verdict. Stevens lost his re-election bid.
Eric Holder, shortly after taking over as Attorney General, sought to dismiss the case against Stevens after evidence came to light of possible perjury on the part of some of the witnesses testifying in the case and evidence was with-held by the government that would have been beneficial to Steven’s defense. Two investigations took place on the matter, but Stevens would die in a plane crash in Western Alaska before any findings were released.
Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah called the conduct of the attorneys that with-held information the lowest level of law and demanded disbarment of those responsible. He stated, “In this case, one of the most basic principles of law was ignored, and that was exculpatory evidence that would have cleared Stevens that should have said to them, ‘This man should never have been indicted to begin with.’ ”
Although they said that their confidence in the Justice department is not undermined, several senators on both sides of the aisle agree with Hatch and call for a firing of the attorneys responsible.
Speaking of the death of Stevens before the DOJ findings were made known, Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said, “It was really tragic, because this was somebody at the end of his career who spent a lifetime trying to carry out his mission and then he was killed and never really knew.” She continued, stating, “I think the Department of Justice should apologize to his widow.”
Other Senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison, (R-Texas) Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) agreed saying that apologies should be made, and the persons responsible should be fired from their positions and disbarred.
The two reports dealing with the Stevens case, one from an independent investigator and one from the Office of Proffessional Responsibility, are due out after the first of the year. Holder stated, “I want to share as much of that as we possibly can, given the very public nature of that matter, and the very public decision that I made to dismiss the case.”
Typically, OPR reports are kept private, rarely are they opened up to the public, but Senator Leahy said he will do all in his power to make sure the report is released publicly.