Ted Stevens Seeks New Trial

3 12 2008

Here we go. Ted Stevens’ lawyers have been busy, and they will soon file a motion seeking a new trial for Alaska’s outgoing senior senator. His recent trial which found him guilty on seven felony counts on failure to disclose gifts and home renovations on his Senate Disclosure Forms was fraught with…weirdness, for lack of a better term. A witness being sent back to Alaska early by the prosecution, evidence being withheld from the defense, a juror having violent outbursts and other jurors trying to vote her off the island, another juror fabricating a story of her own father’s death and skipping town to watch a horse race, a key witness coming forward and admitting he committed perjury and stating that the prosecution showed him documents he wasn’t supposed to see, the same witness revealing a supposed contract on his life from the star witness for the prosecution… If this were the plot of a legal thriller, we’d advise the author to tone it down a bit and make it believable. But real life, as it often happens, is stranger than fiction.

Stevens, who was defeated in a bid for a seventh full term, will ask Judge Emmet Sullivan to overturn his conviction on seven federal corruption counts for failing to disclose more than $250,000 in improper gifts.

Stevens’ defense team raised numerous objections to the Justice Department’s handling of his corruption trial, arguing that the government deliberately withheld potentially exculpatory information and witnesses during the proceedings.

In addition, a prosecution witness, David Anderson, said he was coached by prosecutors on his testimony prior to his appearance as the final government witness, and unofficially promised immunity for himself and his family and friends if he took the witness stand. Prosecutors have vehemently denied Anderson’s allegations. A hearing on Anderson’s claims, laid out in a letter to Judge Sullivan, will be the subject of a hearing next month.

Stevens’ attorneys have not actually filed their request for a new trial yet, but are asking leave from the judge to submit a lengthy motion, one that exceeds local court rules on how long such a document can be.

“The trial in this case took an entire month and gave rise to numerous legal disputes, including motions, evidentiary objections, and juror issues,” Stevens’ attorneys wrote. “The many legal issues cannot adequately be briefed within the local rule’s presumptive 45-page limit. Sen. Stevens accordingly requests this page-limit extension to address the many grounds for a new trial and to preserve these issues in the event of a potential appeal.”

So whatever the reasons the defense will give for asking for a new trial, we know that it will be more than 45 pages worth. My guess is that it will be a LOT more than 45 pages. And it will undoubtedly be a good read, if you’re in to that sort of thing. I’ve been saving a good bottle of wine…





Juror #11 Revealed!

24 11 2008

Juror #11 at the Ted Stevens trial, the one who filled in as an alternate, after Juror #4 skipped town feigning the death of her father to attend a horse race, is talking to KTUU in Anchorage.

She’s also been blogging about the trial, and the posts are witty, irreverent and downright fascinating.  But she showed a more serious side as “Colleen Walsh”, (her real name), during the three segment interview.  You’ll have to sit through a really bad local commercial for Heritage Art & Frames three times, but here it is:

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

The negative impression left by Stevens and his wife on the jurors was picked up by an observer at the trial who noted, “I think Ted’s toast.”

Yup.

Whether Stevens’ appeal goes anywhere remains to be seen, but there’s still plenty of courtroom drama left in this story.





Another Election Eve in Alaska. Recount Possibility?

17 11 2008

1600. That’s the magic number. If Mark Begich can increase his lead from 1022 to 1600, it will put him over the recount threshold. If the margin of victory is under .5%, the state will pay for a recount if requested by either candidate, or a group of 10 citizens. If the margin is over .5%, then the candidate would have to pay for a recount himself. An automatic recount is generated only in the unlikely (but nothing would surprise me at this point) event of a tie.

Will Stevens ask for a recount if he comes up short?  It’s anyone’s guess.  If anyone would do it, it’s Ted.  But he may decide to leave well enough alone, and spare himself from his almost certain expulsion from the US Senate.  But Stevens is not one to back down.  Ever.

Let me be the first to say that Alaskans are eagerly looking forward to this election being over.  We were all prepared to wrap it up on November 4th, and are now faced with the election that wouldn’t die.  But, there is a bright side to a potential recount.  Recounts are done by hand count.  It would be interesting to see how a good old-fashioned hand count fared in comparison to the suspect results that come from our particular brand of nefarious vote counting software.  It might be the only vote of integrity Alaskans will have seen for several cycles.

And, if it flips the other way and Stevens regains his advantage, maybe Mark Begich will demand a recount.

The counting finishes tomorrow with approximately 24,000 ballots coming from Anchorage, Southeast Alaska, and the Kenai Penninsula remaining.  When all is said and done it looks like Alaska’s percentage of voter turnout will be about 65%, which is less than the 66% voter turnout just four years ago, despite Palin and Obama on the ticket, and despite the addition of more than 20,000 new registered voters this year.  There are many loose ends to be tied up before this is all over, and once the votes are counted.

And just in time for a little comic relief from the Stevens-Begich duel to the death, check out Juror #11’s Blog! That’s right.  Blogging jurors.  This is a hilarious recounting of the Ted Stevens trial from the perspective of Juror #11.  Too bad she wasn’t allowed to blog during the trial! This is the juror who, although initially pegged as an alternate, got to step in when the infamous Juror #4 fled the scene after making up the story about her father dying, so she could go attend a horse race.

Here’s Juror #11’s summary of the trial’s opening statements: (‘Salmmy’ is Ted Stevens….we don’t know why yet, but have been promised an explanation in the future)

The prosectution: I am Rosie, and Salmmy is guilty of fraud! False Statements! Lying! Receiving Gifts! Furniture! Generator! Free Work done on his house! Statue! Puppy! Stained Glass Window! Mustang! – Wait?! Did she just say Mustang? What was that about a Mustang? Whose Mustang? Are you giving out Free Mustangs? Damn, now I really have to listen to find out more about that mustang! (yes, I love mustangs and am sure at one point I doodled ‘Mustang of love’ a dozen times in my notebook like a love sick teenager. I really hope they shredded those notebooks). Sadly, after the mustang bit my head was a little cloudy, but I think she said that they would prove their evidence in the next couple of weeks.

The defense: I am a whimisical old man! I don’t like microphones or standing in one spot! (I swear his nickname was going to be Orville Redenbocker if he had continued in this vein. I wanted to give him a straw hat, bow tie and a red stripped vest). Luckily he got to the point: Salmmy is innocent! He is old and confused! He hardley even goes to Alaska! His wife handled all the bills! His bestest friend didn’t tell him what was happening! Seriously? Oh, and Bill Allen is the Evil. He tricked Salmmy!

There are also before and after pictures of Ted’s chalet, and other amusing tidbits about the Alaskan trial of the century.  I’ll be putting a link in the sidebar for this one.

And then tomorrow, back to the serious stuff.





Juror #9 Loses It and Juror #4 is Lost…More Strangeness from the Stevens Trial.

24 10 2008

This didn’t happen in Twelve Angry Men!   The Ted Stevens jury is starting to unravel like a bad scarf. 

On the first day, the jury asked to be dismissed 15 minutes early because they were apparently so stressed out they just couldn’t make it until 5:00.  Eyebrows across Alaska raised.

The culprit was Juror #9, a bookkeeper for the National Guard.  She was apparently so obnoxious, so rude, and so hostile to her fellow jurors that each and every one of them requested that she be removed from the jury.  They sent a note to Judge Emmett Sullivan asking for her ouster.  The verdict?  No dice.

Judge Sullivan called them all in, sat them down and reminded them of the rules of civility, and of the 80+ pages of regulations they were supposed to follow.   Then he told them to make nice and go back to their room.  Off they went. 

As if this bizarre turn of events wasn’t enough…..enter Juror #4.   Or should I say “Exit Juror #4.”  It seems that Juror #4, a licensed paralegal who works for a mortgage company, had some kind of family emergency Thursday evening, and told a U.S. Marshal that she had to leave the state.  When the judge was informed, and the court tried to contact Ms. 4, they were unable to find her.  Poof!  Gone.

That’s one pathologically rude, and one AWOL.  And then there were 10?

This is why they have alternates, in this case, four alternates.  Judge Sullivan has asked for briefs by 7am, and is holding a hearing at 9:00am Eastern time to discuss the matter.  He may replace the wayward juror with an alternate, let the deliberations proceed with only 11 jurors, or possibly give the jury Friday off, if #4 is able to be present by Monday.

If all goes well Mudflatters, this will post just before the hearing starts.  I am trying out the “auto post” feature, which allows me to post here while in reality, snoozing in the other room.  That’s right, this is the Mudflats version of a Robocall!  Gotcha!! (A woman screams! A baby cries!)

So, you all will know the outcome before I will.  Because as much as I am a Ted Stevens Trial junkie, I am not getting up at 5:00 in the morning. I’d do it for the verdict, but not for Juror #4.   I’ll see you back here at 8:30 Alaska time with a nice cup of black coffee.