After covering the long investigations and dramatic trial, it's pretty amazing that the government is now withdrawing charges against convicted Senator Ted Stevens. You just have to wonder what it's like for the people on all sides of this horrible case. On one side there is Sen. Ted Stevens—the grouchy Alaska Senator everybody in Washington loved to hate. On the other side–the federal prosecutors trying to bag the biggest fish the Justice department had reeled in in years.
Stevens had been convicted on seven counts of lying on Senate ethics forms, after prosecutors accused him of failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of "freebies" from an oilfield services company. In December, however, an unnamed FBI whistle-blower accused prosecutors of withholding evidence from the defense, and now the Justice Department has asked a judge to dismiss the charges.
So Stevens' name is cleared, his lawyer says, but amid the accusations he lost his bid for a 7th term. And some prosecutors are probably looking at a bunch of trouble going forward. We’ll eventually find out whether mistakes made in the prosecution were bungling or intentional. About the only thing you can say right now is that this is a story with a moral: “Watch how you use the power of the government – because someone is always watching. And the truth has a way of getting out."
Now that Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to drop the case, a lot of people in Washington are probably looking over their shoulders - and maybe that’s not such a bad thing sometimes.
I covered Joe DiGenova when he was the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. The same job, by the way, that Eric Holder held before becoming attorney general. Here's what DiGenova has to say.
Tonight on AC360°, Anderson will be reporting live from London where the G20 Summit starts tomorrow. All the buzz surrounds Pres. Obama and the First Lady's visit with the Queen today. The initial meet-and-greet seemed to go well. But there's some uproar over Michelle's conversation with her Royal Highness a short time later. Did Michelle break protocol? We'll play you the video in question.
And, don't miss Erica Hill's webcast on the Obamas visit with royalty during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST
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G-20 protesters are clashing with riot police in London. The demonstrators have smashed windows at the Royal Bank of Scotland and vandalized the Bank of England on what they called "Financial Fool's Day."
Effigies of bankers were burned and some in the crowd chanted "Kill the bankers."
"It's our money they've stolen" read one protesters sign, while in another area signs said "Quit Iraq and Afghanistan: Yes we can" - a reference to Pres. Obama's election campaign slogan.
More than 30 people have been arrested. Anderson will be reporting from London tonight. READ HIS BLOG HERE
As the protests took place in the city's financial district, Pres. Obama was busy at various meetings. Today he talked with British Prime Minster Gordon Brown, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Queen Elizabeth.
It's the president and First Lady's meeting with the queen at Buckingham Palace that's gained the most attention. Tonight, we'll tell you all about their visit with royalty.
The G-20 summit begins tomorrow. Pres. Obama is facing criticism for the U.S. role in the global financial crisis. As 360's Tom Foreman will report tonight, China has been on the attack saying America went in a "blind pursuit of profit" which led to recession. The European Union has called the stimulus "the road to hell." Tonight, we're keeping them honest. Is America really to blame for the financial meltdown? Share your thoughts below.
Join us for these stories and more starting at 10pm ET.
Editor's note: Jacqueline Whitmore is founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach and author of Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work.
Jacqueline Whitmore | Bio
Protocol expert and author
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama looked both nervous and excited as they greeted Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip today at Buckingham Palace.
As the couple entered the room, the queen eagerly extended her right hand. Both the President and Mrs. Obama gave the royal couple the “glove” or the two-handed handshake, a handshake generally reserved for people you know very well. However, this most likely was their way of showing respect to Her Royal Highness.
After exchanging a few pleasantries, the royal photographer asked the foursome to strike a pose. It was no surprise that President and Mrs. Obama towered over the diminutive, 5’4” queen. As both couples stood side by side, everyone was careful not to touch each other, even by accident.
This greeting could have been uncomfortable for President Obama as he is known for giving warm and fuzzy pats on the back when he meets a person. Dressed in a conservative black and white dress, Mrs. Obama played it safe and maintained the girlish “fig leaf” position with her hands crossed in front of her body, a position that it not commonly used by confident women. This could also have been a case of nerves.
After all, who wouldn’t be nervous meeting the queen?
Visions of apocalypse - financial and environmental - hung over London on Wednesday as protesters gathered in the streets of the city's financial district on the eve of the G-20 summit of world leaders.
Police stand guard as protesters march behind a giant "Horseman of the Apocalypse" puppet.
But the worst fears of those who had predicted an explosion of rage against the Bank of England and other symbols of capitalism largely failed to materialize due to a heavy police presence and the peaceful intentions of a large majority of protesters.
Around 4,000 anti-capitalist and environmental campaigners, loosely organized under the umbrella group G-20 Meltdown, followed four giant "Horsemen of the Apocalypse" puppets from four London railway stations, converging on the Bank of England at around 11.45 a.m. local time (6.45 a.m. ET) for a demonstration billed as a "mass street party."
"Justice! Peace! Climate!" the crowds chanted, and "Revolution!" Some carried banners reading "Abolish money," "Balls to the bankers," and "Capitalism isn't working."
There were sporadic clashes between police and protesters clad in black hoods and masks as one of the marches approached the bank from Liverpool Street Station. Several police helmets were thrown in the air and officers were forced to retreat to the steps of the bank as some protesters threw pink paint and smoke bombs. Windows were also smashed at a nearby branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Police quickly moved to shut down the area, trapping thousands of protesters outside the bank and deploying extra offices in riot gear and on horses.
But the mood inside the cordon remained mostly good humoured with a jazz band, drummers and street theatre groups keeping the crowds entertained throughout the afternoon and many sitting in the road enjoying the warm spring sunshine, or chalking slogans on walls and pavements.
Driving through the nighttime streets of London, President Obama's motorcade just passed us by. After all the demonstrations today, the streets seem pretty quiet. More protests are planned for tomorrow, of course.
The President held meetings with a number of world leaders. Tonite we'll be telling you what came out of them, particularly his meeting with Russia's president.
Mr. and Mrs. Obama met with the Queen as well. In the British papers, Michelle Obama is getting almost as much attention as her husband, and there is much discussion about the gifts that everyone is exchanging.
For the sake of all our economies, let's hope more comes out of this summit than just a traditional trading of presents.
We'll be live in London tonite, by the Tower Bridge with all the latest on the President and Mrs. Obama on their first European trip.
Former Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska has been "cleared" by the Justice Department's request to dismiss his federal corruption convictions and drop all charges against him, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Former Sen. Ted Stevens, 85, of Alaska lost his re-election bid in November.
Prosecutors accused Stevens of failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of "freebies" from an oilfield services company on Senate ethics forms. But in December, an unnamed FBI whistle-blower accused prosecutors of withholding evidence from the defense, and the Justice Department asked a judge to dismiss the charges against Stevens on Wednesday.
"His name is cleared," Stevens' lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, told reporters. "He is innocent of the charges, as if they'd never been brought."
Stevens, 85, lost his bid for a seventh full term in November after his conviction on seven counts of lying on Senate ethics forms. Sullivan said the Justice Department was forced to request the dismissal because of "extraordinary evidence of government corruption."
"Not only did the government fail to provide evidence to the defense that the law requires them to provide, but they created false testimony that they gave us and actually presented false testimony in the courtroom," he said.
And one of Stevens' longtime friends, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, said Wednesday that Stevens was "screwed by our own Justice Department."
In a statement issued Wednesday morning, Stevens thanked the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder for requesting that the charges be dropped.
"I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed," Stevens said. "That day has finally come."
Editor's note: Richard Quest will answer any reasonable royal or G20 questions on Twitter @richardquest.
CNN International Correspondent
Did he or did she? Bow to the Queen that is!
Americans are often in a dither about whether or not they should give the traditional stiff bow from the neck, or a curtsy for women. It goes against the republican grain to make such a sign of respect to a monarch!
Of course there is absolutely no obligation for ANYONE - not even Brits these days - to bow to the Queen. It is not requested nor required. That was changed years ago.
When I met the Queen some years back, no one said a word about having to do it. But I did since I am a British national.
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U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama meet with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh during an audience at Buckingham Palace on April 1, 2009 in London, England.
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