WASHINGTON – A judge has dismissed charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens because of prosecutorial misconduct and has ordered a criminal contempt investigation of the prosecutors.
"In nearly 25 years on the bench, I've never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I've seen in this case," U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said in the opening moments of a hearing.
Sullivan read a stinging summary of the many times the government withheld evidence or mishandled witnesses in the case.
Stevens was convicted of lying on Senate financial forms about gifts he received from wealthy friends. But Attorney General Eric Holder asked that the case be dismissed, saying Stevens did not receive a fair trial.
Stevens narrowly lost re-election just days later, falling to Democrat Mark Begich. He had been in the Senate 40 years, making him the longest-serving Republican senator when he was defeated.