Attorneys for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) asked a federal judge on Sunday to dismiss corruption charges against him, or declare a mistrial, saying a key witness for the Justice Department is now offering evidence that proves his innocence.
They also allege that federal prosecutors knew that Rocky Williams, who served as the foreman of renovation work on Stevens' home for VECO Corp., an Alaska oil services company, had exculpatory evidence but failed to provide it to the defense.
The Justice Department alleges that Stevens failed to report more than $250,000 in improper gifts from Bill Allen, former CEO of VECO, during a period from 1999 to 2006. In that same time period, Stevens reportedly took a number of official actions to benefit VECO.
Stevens has denied the charges, and both he and his attorneys claim Stevens paid every bill he was aware he received for the home renovation project. They charge, instead, that Allen deliberately withheld construction bills without Stevens' knowledge.
The new controversy over Rocky Williams' testimony could prove to be a serious problem for prosecutors.
"Shortly after indictment, defense counsel contacted Mr. Williams and requested an interview. Mr. Williams declined," Stevens' attorneys said in their new motion.
"But on Friday evening Mr. Williams called defense counsel, and today defense counsel were able to interview him for the first time. In three telephone conversations today, Mr. Williams disclosed highly exculpatory information to defense counsel that apparently has been known to the government for years. Among other things, Mr. Williams informed defense counsel that he spent nowhere near 8 hours per day, 6-7 days per week, on the Girdwood home renovation project – in direct contrast to the timesheets that the government has placed in evidence to support its central theory that the unpaid cost of the project to Veco was $188,000. This new information gravely undercuts the government’s case as described in its opening statement and as presented by government witnesses to date."
Stevens' attorneys said prosecutors deliberately withheld the information, and they argued that Judge Emmet Sullivan should either dismiss the seven-count indictment or declare a mistrial.
According to Stevens' lawyers, Justice Dept. prosecutors sent Williams back to Alaska last Thursday, after opening arguments in the case because "government counsel did not like what they heard" from Williams.
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