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White-Collar Crime

FBI Agent Claims Prosecutors Altered Document to ‘Fit’ Previous Discovery Info

Posted Dec 23, 2008 5:15 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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An FBI agent turned whistleblower complained to federal authorities shortly after Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted in October that investigators handling the case withheld and altered evidence, and engaged in inappropriate relationships with witnesses.

The agent's eight-page complaint, which was made public Monday, alleges that FBI agents met with witnesses in their homes and hotel rooms, wore a special outfit for a witness, and provided one source with a bureau-issued cellphone, the Washington Post reports.

Possibly more damaging to the integrity of the conviction is the allegation that members of the prosecution team "created a scheme" to send a witness home before trial. Another claim is that prosecutors inappropriately altered a document to "fit" information previously provided to the defense.

Lawyers for Stevens are seizing on the letter as an opportunity to ask U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to toss the conviction, or at least grant a new trial.

"We now know from a government insider that the prosecution's misconduct was far more pervasive than previously revealed," lawyers for Stevens argued to the court.

Judge Sullivan has scheduled a hearing for next month to deal with allegations of prosecutorial misconduct during the Stevens trial. Stevens, who lost a reelection bid in November, was convicted of seven counts of lying on financial disclosure forms to hide $250,000 in gifts and renovations to his home in Alaska.

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