FBI agent accuses colleagues of misconduct in Stevens investigation

Ted Stevens’ chances on appeal of his conviction on several counts of corruption improved overnight.  An FBI agent has accused several of his colleagues and one of the prosecutors of unethical conduct in the investigation, including lying to the judge about hiding potentially exculpatory evidence:

An Alaska FBI agent has accused fellow agents and at least one prosecutor of misconduct and unethical behavior in the public corruption investigation in Alaska and the trial of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

The agent’s complaint to internal investigators in the Justice Department was made public Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., by the judge in Stevens’ case.

The complaint had sharp words about one supervising agent, accused of getting too close to sources, including Allen. It said agents took gifts and accepted favors from sources and revealed confidential grand jury information and investigative practices to sources and reporters.

And the complaint said that prosecutors deliberately withheld and covered up evidence favorable to Stevens during his month-long trial, contradicting their statements to the judge at the time that their errors in not producing material to Stevens were accidental.

The whistle-blower is no mere observer, either.  The details released by the judge yesterday show that the agent “ran” one of the informants that triggered the investigation and was present at one of the critical meetings.  The allegations include illegal disclosures to Veco’s Bill Allen about other investigations of him and clandestine and unethical meetings between Allen and at least one agent assigned to the case after Allen became a witness for the prosecution.

The judge in the case apparently considers the complaints put forward in the letter substantial enough to release to the public.  Stevens’ attorneys want the convictions dismissed, and the judge has yet to rule on that motion.  Even if he rules against the defense, and that doesn’t seem likely if the judge feels the prosecution lied and manipulated him, Stevens has a pretty good case for an appeal.