Stevens escape attempt comes up short


The defense team for Ted Stevens (R-AK) thought they had grounds for a mistrial, and they certainly had an angry judge at least in partial sympathy. But in the end, the motion failed and the trial will resume. The gist of that matter was a discovery issue. The defense claimed that prosecution failed to provide it the transcript of an interview between the FBI and a key witness. The judge agreed that this was an egregious omission on the part of the prosecution. The latter side admitted that it was an oversight, but said that the content of the interview was indeed supplied to the defense and that there was no significant material difference between the synopsis and the actual document. But while the judge, Emmet Sullivan, agreed that the defense had plenty of reason to press the issue, in the end he found it insufficient grounds to halt the trial. He did offer the defense a recess to consider the document and an opportunity to restate its opening remarks.

RBR/TVBR observation: In Stevens’ absence, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has been handling Ranking Member chores in the Senate Commerce Committee. Sentiments in the Committee on broadcasting issues do not always break down along party lines, but over the years we would say she has only been slightly more likely than Stevens to side with the Byron Dorgan (D-ND) wing of the Democrats on the Committee.