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What A Screw-Up

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has been a fixture for decades on Capitol Hill, which means by definition folks are afraid of him. In this case it also mean’s he’s dirty. Now the federal government — prosecuting Stevens for omitting $250,000 in home improvements from his financial disclosure forms — has totally botched the case by itself failing to disclose evidence to Stevens’ defense team. Judge Threatens to Throw Out Corruption Case Against Ted Stevens [L.A. Times].

That’s a Brady violation, so named for the Supreme Court case requiring disclosure of exculpatory materials to a criminal defendant. Basic, basic. Here the Assistant U.S. Attorney disclosed only a “redacted” — incomplete — copy of the government’s interview of its star witness. Turns out the missing stuff was also the good stuff. Good for Stevens and now bad for the people. In think this sullied old crook should be hounded out of office by the Alaska electorate or banned by the Senate Ethics Committee. A long time ago, Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo asked whether “the criminal should go free because the constable has blundered.” The answer to that is yes, but it’s no solace that a crooked politician gets away with corruption for such a stupid blunder.

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