Witness in Trial of Alaska's Stevens Says Prosecutors Improperly Influenced Him
Saturday, November 22, 2008
A witness in the corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has told a federal judge that he received extensive help from prosecutors prior to taking the stand and would have testified differently had he not been given the assistance.
He also said he had an agreement with the government that gave him immunity from prosecution in the case. During the trial, he told the jury that no formal deal existed.
"I would not have given the same testimony" without the help or the agreement, wrote the witness, David Anderson.
Stevens's attorneys disclosed the allegations in a motion yesterday asking to question Anderson and others and accusing the government of "suborning perjury and making intentionally false statements" tied to Anderson's testimony. Stevens's attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who presided over the case, to schedule a hearing into the matter.
In a court filing later yesterday, federal prosecutors said Anderson's allegations were false.
"The government has now obtained substantial additional evidence, including both documents and video surveillance, that prove the falsity of Mr. Anderson's allegations and that further explicitly prove Mr. Anderson's collusion with an interested party in the preparation and transmission of Mr. Anderson's letter," they wrote. They said they would provide more details Monday.
Steven Tabackman, a defense lawyer not involved in the case, said the defense allegations were unlikely to influence the judge. "I don't see this getting them a hearing," he said.
Stevens was convicted last month of seven felony counts of lying on financial disclosure forms to hide about $250,000 in gifts and free renovations to his house in Girdwood, Alaska. Stevens accepted much of the largess from the oil services firm Veco and its top executive, Bill Allen, prosecutors say.
Stevens, 85, who narrowly lost his Senate reelection bid, is expected to file motions in coming weeks to have his conviction thrown out. No sentencing date has been set.
Anderson is Allen's nephew, lives in Alaska and worked for Veco. He testified that he performed hundreds of hours of labor on Stevens's house. In a letter dated Nov. 15 and sent to Sullivan, the prosecutors and defense attorneys, Anderson wrote that he wanted "to clarify" his testimony.
The former Veco worker was described in court as having an alcohol problem, and prosecutors were not going to call him as a witness. After Sullivan threw out portions of Veco billing records that showed Anderson had spent considerable time working on Stevens's home, prosecutors summoned him to testify.
Before testifying, Anderson wrote, prosecutors allowed him to review grand jury testimony, other records and a detailed timeline about the "Ted Stevens job."
Prosecutors are permitted to refresh the memory of witnesses with invoices, records and their grand jury testimony. Anderson alleged that he read documents he wasn't entitled to see. At one point, he wrote, prosecutors told him not to read a stack of records after they left him alone in a room. "I read them all," he wrote.
He also claimed that Allen and Allen's son had issued a contract to have him killed.