Attorneys for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) are seeking to quash a Justice Dept. subpoena demanding e-mails and other documents from the law firm that employs Catherine Stevens, the senator's wife.
Calling the subpoena "a last-minute fishing expedition" by prosecutors while , Stevens' attorneys are asking Judge Emmet Sullivan to deny the motion. Prosecutors are asking for e-mails between the senator and Mrs. Stevens, which defense attorneys said are out-of-bounds under spousal privilege.
"It is a classic fishing expedition akin to a document request in a civil case," Stevens' attorneys wrote in their motion to quash the subpoena. The motion was filed on Saturday.
Ted Stevens is charged with failing to report more than $250,000 in improper gifts from Allen and others from 1999 to 2006. The heart of the government's case is the renovation of the Stevens' home in Girdwood, Alaska, which took place in 2000 & 2001. VECO employees are alleged to have done more than $180,000 worth of work on the home, none of which Ted Stevens ever declared on his annual Senate financial disclosure form. Stevens' claims he paid for every bill that he ever received for home renovation work, amounting to roughly $160,000. Stevens also says Allen directed VECO employees to do work on the home, without the senator's knowledge.
Prosecutors issued the subpoena on Sept. 15 to Mayer Brown Rowe and Maw, the law firm where Catherine Stevens works. They are seeking e-mails and other communications from Catherine Stevens to 37 people and companies, including Bill Allen, former CEO of VECO Corp. Allen, who has already pled guilty bribing Alaska state legislators, is the government's star witness against Ted Stevens. The subpoena covers the period from Jan. 1,1999, to the present.
Mayer Brown turned over 26,000 pages of documents last year to the Justice Department at investigators' request, but in response to this subpoena, they sent "several thousand documents" to Stevens' attorneys.
Stevens' defense team initially believed that the Justice Department would not seek to enforce the subpoena, which was issued just before Stevens' corruption trial began, but prosecutors, via e-mails with Stevens' attorneys, said the expect the documents to be turned over to prosecutors.