Ted Stevens's Unfair Trial

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Your April 2 editorial "The Stevens Case; Its shocking reversal says more about the Justice Department than about the former senator" stated that Ted Stevens's "ugly" conduct could not be forgiven or erased by the Justice Department's decision to dismiss its criminal case against him.

Citing trial records, you described a corrupt man who cared more about developing a vacation home than obeying the law and respecting public confidence. Ultimately, though, your portrayal appears to be based on trial evidence that the government allowed to remain uncontroverted by withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense. News reports indicate that the prosecution failed to turn over a key witness's pretrial statements that were contrary to his testimony at the trial at which Stevens, then a Republican senator from Alaska, was convicted.

Our adversarial system is premised on the principle that "the truth will out" when each side has the opportunity to present its case to the best of its ability and with full access to the facts. Here, the defense did not have that opportunity, and your editorial's description of Stevens and his conduct was based on testimony that well could have been disproved had the defense had its fair chance. I found the editorial highly unfair to Stevens.

-- Christopher R. Ford

Washington


© 2009 The Washington Post Company