Prosecutor misconduct saves Sen. Ted Stevens

Screwups by prosecutors in the corruption trial against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (left) will result in a dropping of all charges against the convicted politician.

Apparently, the lawyers for Justice bungled the case so badly that Attorney Gen. Eric Holder feels the only option is to let Stevens off the hook.

The setback is the latest black eye for the Justice Department’s dismal record under the Bush administration.

Holder says the actions of prosecutors cannot be defended.

Reports The Associated Press:

The Justice Department will seek to drop all charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens, whose conviction on corruption charges led to complaints of prosecutorial misconduct, according to news reports.

The 85-year-old Alaska Republican was convicted late last year on seven felony counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure forms to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and home renovations from a businessman.

National Public Radio said Wednesday that Attorney General Eric Holder has decided that the conviction of Stevens cannot be defended because of problems with the government’s prosecution.

Stevens is appealing his conviction. In December, he asked a federal judge to grant him a new trial or throw out the case, saying his trial had many "deficiencies."

The Justice Department will withdraw its opposition to the defense motion for a new trial and will dismiss the indictment against Stevens, NPR reported.

Reached at his office this morning by the Anchorage Daily News, Stevens’ lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, told the newspaper he has a meeting at the Justice Department at 10 a.m. but said he had not been informed of the reported decision by Justice.

Messages for Stevens’ lawyers from The Associated Press were not returned early Wednesday morning.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan held Justice Department lawyers in contempt last month for failing to turn over documents as ordered. He called their behavior "outrageous."