Stevens lawyers: Guilty verdict was obtained unlawfully

April 1, 2009 

WASHINGTON — Here's a rough transcript of the press conference held by Brendan Sullivan, Ted Stevens' lead attorney. Lawyers for Williams and Connolly, considered among the best in the city, are infamous for never speaking to reporters, so the press conference was quite an event:

Good afternoon, my name's Brendan Sullivan, this is my colleague Rob Cary, we're the defense counsel for Senator Stevens. As many of you know, I never comment about matters in litigation. Today is an exception. My comments will be limited basically to the statement we released this morning because the judge has ordered a hearing on April 7, Tuesday next week. At which time he's invited the defense counsel and the government to make whatever concluding statements that we think appropriate.

The jury verdict here was obtained unlawfully. The government violated the Constitution of the United States, federal criminal rules, and applicable case law in order to obtain this unlawful verdict. The misconduct of the prosecutors was stunning to me. Many prosecutors were involved and least one FBI agent. Not only did the government fail to provide evidence to the defense that the law required them to provide, but they created false testimony that they gave us and they actually presented false testimony in the courtroom.

We're very grateful to the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, for this decision he made today to drop all charges. That decision was justified by the extraordinary evidence of government corruption in this case.

Senator Ted Stevens should never have been prosecuted. It was a bad judgment to have done so in the first place. He's a war hero. He served in the Senate for 40 years, and he was the target of prosecutors who wanted to enhance their own reputation.

But there are some heroes in this story as well, and the foremost among them is Judge Emmet Sullivan. Our judge was skeptical of what the government was doing. (He) pursued the truth of the matter and gave us, the defense, the ability to pursue evidence of wrongdoing that there might have been a grave injustice in this case because the misconduct might not have been discovered.

The prosecutors in the case were removed, as you know, some were held in contempt and that brought in a new team of prosecutors. If I were to be asked, are there other heroes, it would be those new prosecutors. They were led by Paul O'Brien. They pursued evidence and when they found evidence of misconduct, they gave it to us, as recently as last week. And when we received that evidence, normally defense counsel are overjoyed at the opportunity that their hunches and leads are proven true, that in fact the government acted wrongly, but there was no joy at Williams and Connolly when we were getting that evidence. In fact we were sickened by it. Because it clearly told a story of government corruption, that they were hell bent on convicting a United States Senator.

To us, while this is a joyful day and we're happy that Senator Stevens can resume a normal life without the burdens that he's carried over these last years, at age 85, it's a very sad story, too. Because it's a warning to everyone in this country that any citizen can be convicted if the prosecutor ignores the Constitution of the United States.

Questions:

Will the Senator be at the hearing April 7? "Yes he will be."

Should prosecutors be charged with wrongdoing?

"That is not my job, I'm a defense lawyer."

How can he clear his name?

"His name is cleared. He is innocent of the charges, as if they'd never been brought."

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