By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
A federal judge yesterday scheduled "a brief hearing" into a witness's allegations that he received extensive help from prosecutors and lied on the stand about an immunity deal in the corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) last month.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan scheduled the hearing for Monday to consider a defense request to question the witness, David Anderson, and others who might know about the allegations.
In court documents filed last week, Stevens's attorneys accused prosecutors of "suborning perjury and making intentionally false statements" tied to Anderson's testimony.
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. He accepted much of the largess from the oil services firm Veco and its top executive, Bill Allen, prosecutors say.
No sentencing date has been set for Stevens, 85, who narrowly lost his reelection bid this month. In a court filing Friday, prosecutors denied Anderson's allegations.
Anderson is Allen's nephew 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 and the lawyers, Anderson wrote he wanted "to clarify" his testimony.
Before testifying, Anderson wrote, prosecutors allowed him to review grand jury testimony, other records and a detailed timeline.
Prosecutors are permitted to refresh witnesses' memories with invoices, records and their grand jury testimony. But Anderson alleged that he read documents he wasn't entitled to see. At one point, he said, prosecutors told him not to read a stack of records and left him alone in a room. "I read them all," he wrote.
In his letter, Anderson said he had an agreement with the government that gave him immunity from prosecution in the case. During the trial, he testified he had no formal deal.
Although he said that his testimony about the deal "is simply not true," his letter seems to bolster parts of what he said on the stand. He told jurors that he thought he had a "handshake" agreement to avoid prosecution. In the letter, he reiterated that statement.