April 1st, 2009
10:07 PM ET

Ted Stevens wins again

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Joe Johns
CNN correspondent

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.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Joe Johns • Ted Stevens • The Buzz
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Three things come to mind; One--you can't keep a good man down-–or who says crime doesn't pay--justice is blind--and I honestly don't know which one applies-–enjoy your retirement Senator-

    April 2, 2009 at 8:26 am |
  2. Thomas T, Tampa, FL

    I'm astonished that you guys are even talking about this, regular people go through these kinds of things every day, whether with the big corporate or the Justice System. Ted's a part of designers of the system so he should take like a man

    April 1, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    Guess someone messed up and lost the best conviction Justice had gotten on this sort of thing in a long while. Another one in the unemployment line??

    April 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  4. Jim M

    Gee, in the last days of the Bush administration one has to wonder what truly happened. Was it a typical Gonzales Justice Department foul-up? Or was is an intention creation to make sure that Stevens would never have to worry about seeking a courtroom?

    In any case, like bad weather, it eventually blows by.

    April 1, 2009 at 10:11 pm |