Deliberating Jurors Spot Error in Sen. Stevens Indictment
Posted Oct 27, 2008 1:21 PM CST
By Martha Neil
Oops. Jurors deliberating in the high-profile corruption trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens spotted an error today in his indictment.
"Among the seven charges in the indictment, prosecutors said that Stevens checked 'no' on financial documents when asked whether he received any gifts in 2001. Actually, he checked 'yes,' and jurors asked the judge what they should do about that," reports the Associated Press.
Although prosecutors characterized the error as a typo, and said the gift disclosed by Stevens in 2001 was irrelevant to the case, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said he will instruct jurors not to consider the indictment, the news agency recounts.
Added the judge in an acerbic comment: "Presumably somebody reads these indictments before they return them?”
The prosecutorial mistake is expected to help Stevens in his defense of the case, which has already benefited from other government errors.
"The request by the jury follows a trail in which the judge admonished the government for withholding evidence, submitting records into evidence that prosecutors knew were false as well as sending subpoenaed witnesses back to Alaska in the dead of the night without notifying the defense team," reports ABC News.
As discussed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, the long-serving 84-year-old Republican is accused of failing to report some $250,000 in gifts he allegedly received from the Veco Corp. oil services company, a millionaire oil contractor and others.
Earlier in the day, jury deliberations started anew after the judge replaced one of the jurors, who has been absent because of the death of her father, with an alternate, Bloomberg notes.